HASLAM ‘NOW WE MUST BEAT BYRNE’

Kawasaki rider is de­ter­mined to stop Shakey’s charge to­wards the 2016 ti­tle at Cad­well Park this week­end

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Sport - BSB RE­PORTER oli.rushby@mo­tor­cy­cle­news.com OLI RUSHBY

Byrne has been al­most un­beat­able over the last three rounds, cul­mi­nat­ing in a com­mand­ing dou­ble at Brands Hatch three weeks ago. But Haslam had a crack­ing test at Cad­well Park last week and now reck­ons he can get his JG Speed­fit Kawasaki ahead of Shakey’s Du­cati.

Re­mark­ably, Haslam still holds the Cad­well lap record from his BSB days with Air­waves Du­cati in 2007, but both he and Byrne matched it dur­ing test­ing at the quirky Lin­colnshire track.

Byrne cur­rently sits 25 points ahead of Haslam in the stand­ings and more cru­cially has a 14-point ad­van­tage in podium cred­its, but that’s some­thing for­mer WSB star Haslam is de­ter­mined to chip away at be­fore the Show­down kicks off at Don­ing­ton next month.

“We have to beat Shakey this week- end and at Oul­ton, so that we can get the podium points on a more equal foot­ing be­fore the show­down,” Haslam told MCN. “The Du­cati is strong, there’s no doubt about that. They’ve got a full fac­tory bike with a lot of sup­port and they’ve done a good job with it.

“Shakey is no mug, he’s got so much ex­pe­ri­ence in BSB. The team has got a great pack­age but I be­lieve we’ve got one that can beat him.”

While Byrne has dom­i­nated the past three rounds, it’s been a case of dam­age lim­i­ta­tion for Haslam af­ter strug­gling in prac­tice and even qual­i­fy­ing. While he was of­ten able to turn it around for race day, as we saw at Brands Hatch where he took two sec­ond places, he has been un­able to beat Byrne.

“We needed last week’s test,” he ad­mit­ted. “We’ve lacked test­ing time with the way the cal­en­dar has been and the com­mit­ments the team has had with the roads. It’s been a non-stop roller­coaster and in the last 11 weeks I’ve been to Ja­pan five times with the Suzuka 8-Hours and test­ing; it has been a long old slog.

“For the last few rounds, ev­ery week­end has been a grind; it’s not been easy and we’ve been out of the top 15 be­fore Su­per­pole. No week­end has gone as planned or as smoothly as we’d have liked, but af­ter our test I’m feel­ing good for Cad­well. I want to be able to go into FP1 al­ready able to set a time good enough for first or sec­ond and then fo­cus on putting that into a race dis­tance so we can win on Mon­day.”

Cad­well Park is the only cir­cuit on the cal­en­dar where the lat­est gen­er­a­tion of BSB rid­ers haven’t bet­tered an older lap record. Haslam’s record, set on the Air­waves Du­cati 999, is al­most 10 years old and while a num­ber of rid­ers have beaten it in test­ing and qual­i­fy­ing, no­body has got close to it in a race.

“I’m pretty sure the lap record will go this week­end,” he said. “I’m con­fi­dent I could have been un­der it if we’d tried a new set of tyres with the set­ting I pre­ferred. The pace in BSB is quick this year and you have to be on lap record pace or bet­ter if you want to win.”

With solid test­ing at Cad­well un­der his belt, Haslam is on a high

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