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Leon Haslam to replace Tom Sykes at ROKiT BMW for Imola WorldSBK

Tim Keeton/Impact Images
Leon Haslam, ROKiT BMW, BMW M 1000 RR, 2023 BSB, Donington Park, portrait, grid [credit - Tim Keeton/Impact Images]

Leon Haslam will return to the WorldSBK Championship grid for Round 7 of the 2023 season at Imola this weekend in place of the injured Michael van der Mark and Tom Sykes at ROKiT BMW Motorrad.

One of the series’ most experienced and versatile competitors having taken in stints with Ducati, Honda, Suzuki, Aprilia and Kawasaki since making his full-time WorldSBK debut in 2004, this weekend’s outing will also mark Haslam’s return to BMW on the international stage.

Haslam spent two seasons with the factory BMW team in 2011 and 2012, a tenure that yielded eight podiums, two of which came at the Italian venue.


He joins Scott Redding in the factory ROKiT BMW team this weekend in place of Tom Sykes, who suffered 13 rib fractures in a monster accident during Race 2 at Donington Park. 

>>> 2023 WorldSBK Championship Standings <<<

The 2013 WorldSBK Champion himself was also standing in for Michael van der Mark, the Dutchman having broken his leg in a crash at Assen. 

“It’s a fantastic opportunity,” said Haslam, who raced the ROKiT BMW M 1000 RR in the British Superbike Championship. 

“Obviously, I have a lot of history with Imola. We took the Championship in 2010 down to the last round at Imola. It’s fantastic to ride again for BMW Motorrad Motorsport. 

“We are riding the BMW M 1000 RR in the UK so I’m looking forward to working with Shaun Muir and all the guys from the ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team. 

“I have no real big expectations, I just want to try to enjoy and hopefully we can get some good information and some good results.”

Haslam made his WorldSBK debut in 2003 with a handful of outings on the Renegade Ducati, before completing a full campaign with the team for 2004 before switch to BSB for the next four seasons.


He returned in 2009 on the privateer Stiggy Honda before switching to Alstare Suzuki for 2010, where he'd achieve a career-best runners-up spot to Max Biaggi. Going on to race with BMW Motorrad and Pata Honda, Haslam's return to BSB yielded a dominant run to the title in 2018.

Further stints with the factory Kawasaki and Honda teams followed, with Haslam notching up five wins and 45 podiums in 322 WorldSBK starts.

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