‘ To win the 8-Hour again for an­other fac­tory would be a dream come true’ New Kawasaki BSB sign­ing takes a step closer to an­other Suzuka 8-hour vic­tory af­ter get­ting of­fi­cial call up to the pres­ti­gious race

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Sport - By Gor­don Ritchie WSB RE­PORTER

Two-time Suzuka 8-Hour race win­ner Leon Haslam will re­turn to com­pete in the key World En­durance round in Ja­pan this year, rid­ing an of­fi­cial Team Green Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R.

Hav­ing signed to ride in the BSB cham­pi­onship this year with the of­fi­cial JG Speed­fit Kawasaki squad, Haslam has also ne­go­ti­ated a re­turn to the pres­ti­gious 8-Hour, hav­ing missed the op­por­tu­nity while an Aprilia WSB rider last year.

Haslam, who makes no se­cret of his wish to com­pete in any other one-off or wild card rides for Kawasaki in 2016, con­sid­ers be­ing asked to rep­re­sent his new man­u­fac­turer at Suzuka as an un­miss­able op­por­tu­nity. “It is al­ways an hon­our to be in­vited and to be in­vited by Kawasaki even more so,” said Haslam.

One of the rea­sons some other Euro­pean-based riders have opted to miss the 8-Hour in re­cent times is the ex­ten­sive 8-Hour test sched­ule, but it’s a prospect Haslam’s rel­ish­ing: “We are go­ing to be test­ing four times, not only at Suzuka but also at Kawasaki’s of­fi­cial test track in Au­topo­lis, with the of­fi­cial Ja­panese Team Green squad. It is quite an in-depth test sched­ule that they have, so to be in­volved in that, and be


in­vited to do it, is a big hon­our. I have won the 8-Hour twice with Honda and I am the only Bri­tish guy to ever do that, so to try and do it again with an­other man­u­fac­turer is a dream come true.”

Haslam will be teamed up with an­other WSB race-win­ning rider Akira Yana­gawa, and es­tab­lished Kawasaki Ja­pan rider Kazuki Watan­abe, on an of­fi­cial bike run­ning Bridge­stone tyres.

Haslam has won WSB races as re­cently as the fi­nal round in Qatar last sea­son, when com­pet­ing for Aprilia, but his re­turn to BSB has not dulled his de­sire for more in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tion.

It was even part of his think­ing as he took on his main ‘day-job’ of try­ing to win the BSB ti­tle in 2016.

“When I first spoke about com­ing back to BSB there were a lot of things dis­cussed on the back of it,” he said. “Ob­vi­ously, yes, I want to come back and win a Bri­tish ti­tle for Kawasaki. But I wanted to be in­volved with the fac­tory as much as I could as far as the 8-Hour was con­cerned, World En­durance and even as a stand-in or wild card rider. We are still mak­ing our mind up on how we can ap­proach the wild card rides. For me, as long as I can be win­ning on a Kawasaki that is my first aim. Right now my main fo­cus is in BSB and test­ing for the 8-Hour.”

Twice 8-Hour win­ner Haslam hopes he can take Kawasaki to the top spot Team Green ZX-10R Haslam hopes to take to 8-hour glory

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.