HASLAM BE­LIE

P66 | SPAN­ISH TEST SPE­CIAL BSB re­turnee says he has the team and bike to win on af­ter lat­est round

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Sport -

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-

PETER HICK­MAN

“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.

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