P66 | SPANISH TEST SPECIAL BSB returnee says he has the team and bike to win on after latest round
Each time you walked past the JG Speedfit Kawasaki garage during the four days of the Cartagena BSB test, Leon Haslam was locked in a ring of heads poring over computer screens that map the ignition, fuelling and suspension behaviour of his new ZX-10R.
“This is the first test that I’ve been on with the full 2016 fly-by-wire, which takes some setting up,” the 32-yearold Brit said.
“These bikes now have so many options in standard road trim that you need to narrow it down so you have a nice little window that you can be competitive with anywhere.”
Haslam is returning to the BSB paddock after seven years competing in the world series, racing for several manufacturers including Honda, BMW and Aprilia. In a long and distinguished career, this is the first time the 2010 WSB runner up has raced a Kawasaki.
“In my whole career I have been riding with electronics, even when I was in BSB before it was full electronics,” he explained. “For me it is a very big difference because we have no electronics with this Kawasaki. To jump on a bike with no electronics, no traction control, you have to ride differently and you have to set the bike up differently. On top of that I am learning a brand new bike.”
The 16 times BSB race winner’s intense efforts produced immediate results at Cartagena, where he was quickly on the pace. “Every day we were getting faster doing pretty con-
“I’m comfortable with the bikes and I could go and race now,” he declared.
Typically, Hutchy had followed a precise plan. “I ran the bike with my road race settings on it so that I get used to how it will feel,” he explained. “It’s not ideal for short circuit but I want to get that connection with the bike.”
Peter Hickman’s Spanish test did not go so smoothly on the JG Speedfit Kawasaki, as he suffered a chatter problem that took three days to cure.
“Thank goodness we got that sorted before my teeth fell out,” Hickman joked after his crew changed the frame on his ZX-10R in an attempt to find the fault. In spite of the issue, Hickman posted a top 10 time of 1 minute 34.3 seconds, 1.4 seconds faster than his previous best at Cartagena.