Haslam drawing satisfaction from Rea battle in WorldSBK return

Factory Kawasaki rider third in both outings on Sunday at Phillip Island.

Image: Supplied.

British talent Leon Haslam made his mark while on return to the FIM Motul Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK) at Phillip Island over the weekend, challenging for podiums in all three outings.

After overcoming a crash in race one while contending up front, Haslam pulled through for two podium finishes on Sunday in the Superpole race and race two.

The Kawasaki Racing Team rider engaged in hard-fought battle with teammate and four-time defending Jonathan Rea in the final encounter, the duo trading position on an number of occasions before Haslam was forced to accept third for the second time, however the dual has not only granted him a sense of satisfaction, but also an injection of confidence.

“It was good to get on two podiums today,” Haslam stated. “In the 10-lap sprint race I was a little cautious and I got caught behind the Yamahas, so I settled. I thought I had a little bit in hand to catch Jonathan in the final race. I tried to make my own rhythm for the first four laps.

“After this I tried to save the tyre and which then created a group of five riders. It was a nice easy rhythm and I was feeling good with my pace. Johnny and I had some good passes – good battles. My plan was to go away with two laps to go, then he passed me into turn one and I ran a little wide.

“At the same time he went 0.4s of a second faster. I went with him and caught him up on the last lap but I felt like I had been caught out a little bit. To battle with Jonathan in my first race weekend of the year, with his record in this class, I am happy.”

Following the weekend’s three races, Haslam sits sixth in the championship standings while Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) controls the standings.

Source: CycleOnline.com.au

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