HASLAM ÔI SHOULD’VE SETTLED FOR SECOND’
DONINGTON DISASTER Crash in race two at his home circuit leaves Haslam’s Showdown bid in tatters
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