Leon Haslam alongside Bautista on new Fireblade in WSBK

Leon Haslam with Honda for WorldSBK 2020

Leon Haslam will have a whole new challenge in 2020 as he joins the much-anticipated factory Honda team, supported by HRC. T

he British rider has an illustrious and distinguished career with the Japanese manufacturer and will return to the official line-up for next season, alongside Spanish sensation and 2019 Championship runner-up, Alvaro Bautista.

Leon Haslam joint winner with Takuma Takahashi and Michael van der Mark
Leon Haslam was joint winner with Takuma Takahashi and Michael van der Mark with Honda at the 2014 Suzuka 8 Hour

Starting back in 2003, Haslam has been one of the most prominent features in the World Superbike paddock. A permanent switch to WorldSBK came in 2004, where he took a first career podium at Oschersleben, finishing eighth in the Championship.

Haslam took three seasons out before taking a third place at Portimao in the final race of 2008 for HM Plant Honda; enough to convince the Stiggy Racing Team to sign him up for 2009. Four podiums helped him to finish sixth overall.

Musashi RT HARC-Pro trio (Takumi Takahashi - Leon Haslam - Michael van der Mark) have taken out the 2014 Suzuka 8 Hours by just under a minute ahead of Yoshimura Suzuki Shell Advance (Takuya Tsuda - Josh Waters - Randy De Puniet). This was the second win in succession for the Musashi RT HARC-Pro triumvirate.
Musashi RT HARC-Pro trio (Takumi Takahashi – Leon Haslam – Michael van der Mark) took out the 2014 Suzuka 8 Hours.

2010 would be Haslam’s greatest season and he switched from Honda to Suzuki, storming to victory in the season-opening Phillip Island race by just 0.004s to make the closest finish of a WorldSBK race in history.

He led the Championship and took two more wins before finishing as Championship runner-up, with only four-time 250cc World Champion Max Biaggi ahead of him. 2011 and 2012 saw him with BMW and he took regular podiums before moving to Honda for 2013.

2013 would be a season blighted by injury, but Haslam had strong rides nonetheless, building on these for 2014, taking a podium in France and finishing seventh overall.

2015 saw him with Aprilia and two more wins came by on his way to fourth overall. Six more starts for Kawasaki over the next two seasons as wildcard would keep Haslam in the paddock, before coming back full-time this year, taking six podiums.

Leon Haslam - P9 1m31.138s - “It’s a little disappointing after feeling really confident after the test here earlier this week. We put in a new specification engine yesterday, which is more powerful and a bit more aggressive. It’s thrown a few little bugs into our plans and we’ve only been able to make a few steps back towards where we were in the test. I’d say we’re around 50% of the way there and we made some more progress in those two Superpole outings. But, as I say, it’s a little disappointing because in the test I was feeling really confident. On the positive side, we can see where the issues are and we just need to study the electronics to get them sorted. The chassis settings and tyres are exactly the same as we ran in the test and, apart from one or two other niggling little problems, I’m happy with all that.”
Leon Haslam on a Pata Honda in 2014

Source: MCNews.com.au

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