Kawasaki Racing Team contender records top three time in testing.
Leon Haslam believes he’s ‘in a good place’ ahead of this weekend’s opening round of the 2019 FIM Motul Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK), following two days of official testing at the seaside Australian venue.
Haslam, who’s returning to the world championship after a number of years in the British Superbike Championship (BSB), wound up inside the top five on both days of testing, completing Tuesday’s final outing in P3, 0.365s off pace-setter Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati).
“Up until today we probably used the least amount of tyres compared to anyone else,” the Kawasaki Racing Team rider explained. “We were just looking at race set-up and looking at a real specific plan of what we wanted to do, hence we were not posting really good one-off lap times and putting new tyres in. Our race times have been pretty competitive over both days.
“I had a bit of a go for a lap time at the end there but I got traffic on my first two laps and I think it was my fourth flying lap I did the 1m30.6s. I think if we could have maximised the early laps, like everyone else seemed to be doing, we could have been a little closer.
“The biggest thing about this test for me was the average of the base pace, looking after the tyres, and managing that side of things. We are in a good place, I think. I am not looking to the races just yet – I am looking to the practice session on Friday, because there are still a few things we want to try. I feel good and we are making the steps.”
Haslam’s teammate, four-time defending world champion Jonathan Rea, was fourth in the times on the final day of testing, almost half a second off the pace of WorldSBK newcomer Bautista.