DON­ING­TON DISAS­TER Crash in race two at his home cir­cuit leaves Haslam’s Show­down bid in tat­ters

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

Leon Haslam left Don­ing­ton Park rue­ing a costly mis­take which saw him crash out of Sun­dayõs sec­ond race to hand key ri­val Shane Byrne a 27-point lead after the open­ing round of the MCE Bri­tish Su­per­bike Show­down.

A sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in track tem­per­a­ture for Sun­dayõs two races saw Haslam strug­gle with his pre­ferred harder option rear Pirelli tyre, al­low­ing Byrne two race vic­to­ries as the ti­tle fight got un­der­way.

Sun­dayõs crash marked the former WSB race win­nerõs first ma­jor mis­take in a race so far this year, and it could­nõt have come at a worse time for Haslam who took the se­ries lead with three dom­i­nant vic­to­ries last time out at Oul­ton Park.

A new­comer to BSBÕS Show­down sys­tem, Haslam ad­mit­ted to MCN after the race that he should have set­tled for sec­ond, mean­ing heõd head to the next round at As­sen just seven points be­hind Byrne in the ti­tle chase.

ÒWE were up against it to­day,ó said a red-faced Haslam. ÒWE knew the softer tyre would­nõt last for us and the harder option just did­nõt have the grip in the heat. IÕM pleased with the pace we ran in the early stages but it was only a mat­ter of time un­til things turned against us.

Òwhen Shakey came past I pushed

too hard. It was my mis­take, I should have set­tled for sec­ond and rolled on to As­sen with just a few points be­tween us. Now, be­cause I made that one mis­take heõs now got a 27-point lead and weõve got a lot of work to do.ó

Haslam has strug­gled with tyre life with the softer option Pirelli rear for most of the season. It held him back at Snet­ter­ton and Thrux­ton, and while he

‘It was only a mat­ter of time un­til things turned against us’ LEON HASLAM

was able to hold Byrne off on the soft rub­ber at Cad­well, he was­nõt will­ing to risk it this week­end.

The ag­gres­sive way in which the 2016 Kawasaki ZX-10R de­liv­ers its power has seen a num­ber of rid­ers suf­fer with heavy tyre wear on the softer SC0 option, with James El­li­son and Luke Mossey also hav­ing is­sues.

Haslam said: Òthe Du­cati has al­ways been bet­ter at con­serv­ing tyres in the warm con­di­tions. In the cold tem­per­a­tures, how­ever, itõs not so good for Shakey and if he races the harder tyre I know I can beat him.

ÒIÕVE beaten him on the SC0 be­fore but even then heõs had more grip than me at the end of the race, take Cad­well for ex­am­ple. It is some­thing we need to work on be­cause we canõt just as­sume the next rounds will be colder just be­cause weõre mov­ing into Au­tumn! Gen­er­ally the bike is work­ing well, IÕM not dis­pleased with it at all but weõre in a dilemma with tyre life and have to push a bit too hard when weõre on the harder option too.ó

While Haslam now sits more than a race win be­hind Byrne in the stand­ings, heõs not given up hopes of clinch­ing a first Bri­tish ti­tle this year.

ÒITÕS never easy claw­ing that sort of gap back to Shakey but if you look at what hap­pened at Oul­ton we built a 36-point gap on him in three races so any­thing can hap­pen! Shakey was al­ways go­ing to be a tough com­peti­tor, heõs a four-time BSB cham­pion but that is­nõt go­ing to stop me giv­ing it my best to make sure he does­nõt get a fifth.ó

‘Now, be­cause I made that one mis­take Shakey’s got a 27-point lead’ LEON HASLAM

Leon has been strug­gling with tyres all year

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