Haslam's podium at Phillip Island!
2011 Superbike World Championship, race report from Phillip Island, Australia.
An exciting opening round of the 2011 World Superbike Championship in Australia saw BMW Motorrad Motorsport new recruit Leon Haslam make a great start to the new season by scoring his first podium finish for the team in his very first race on the S 1000 RR Superbike.
Following a night of rain and a wet warm-up session, the sun came out and dried the track for the start of race one. It was Leon Haslam who made the most of his front row qualifying position by getting a good start from fourth on the grid. Eventual race winner Carlos Checa soon stormed into the lead, closely followed by Max Biaggi, leaving the television cameras to concentrate on the battle for third between Haslam and fellow British rider Eugene Laverty.
A race-long duel then followed between the two riders, who traded places several times, but it was Haslam who came out on top on his RR, finishing on the podium in his first ever race for BMW Motorrad Motorsport and in doing so, equalling the team’s best result to date.
Troy Corser was the next BMW rider home – just inside the top10 – and BMW Motorrad Italia’s Ayrton Badovini earned his first WSBK points of the year by finishing in 14th position. His team-mate James Toseland recovered to finish in 17th after being forced off the track on lap four.
Race two was spectacular, even if it didn’t yield the desired podium for any of the BMW riders. It was Leon Haslam who got the perfect start, leading the race into turn one, before double race winner Checa forced his way past. Troy Corser was close behind on the second RR, thanks to some brave overtaking on lap two. Before long, a six-way battle developed for second place, with Corser and Haslam fighting challenges from current WSBK champion Biaggi, current Supersport World Champion Eugene Laverty, former 250cc World Champion Melandri and Michel Fabrizio.
Visibly pushing hard, Corser hit a false neutral while challenging Biaggi for third place and ran off the main part of the track, costing him dearly. He rejoined the race, but had lost too much ground on the leaders and eventually finished in 19th place after struggling with grip. Haslam, meanwhile, finished in fifth place, after Jonathan Rea squeezed past him on the final lap. BMW Motorrad Italia’s Ayrton Badovini was forced to retire from race two, but James Toseland finished in 14th place, scoring his first WSBK points on the RR.
Leon Haslam: “As a team we have made huge steps forward from two weeks ago. We still have some issues that need looking at in more detail to ensure we can become regular podium finishers, but on the whole we can be happy with the two races. The first race was great; we encountered some issues in race two but still managed to finish in the top five so we are definitely happy. A huge credit to the team for their efforts this weekend but we now have to sit down and detail how we plan to make that next step forward.”
Troy Corser: “We started the race well, I felt good on the bike but sadly I found a false neutral going into Honda corner and I left the track. I rejoined down the field and then really struggled for grip. As the race progressed the tyre became really worn and I was losing traction everywhere, I simply couldn’t do the times I wanted. We have identified some points that need addressing before Donington Park, but for sure I am looking forward to the rest of the season.”
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Berhard Gobmeier – BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director: “Today has been a very rewarding end of what was a tough weekend. Leon did incredibly well and took a well-deserved podium finish for our team. Troy really had to fight with the bike today. We now have to analyze the data on his side. I am proud of the entire team – both the guys here at the track, but also the people in Stephanskirchen and Munich. We all fly back home happily and satisfied tonight. But we are hungry for more, these results shall not be a one-off. We will not have a rest. In four weeks we will race in Donington, and preparations for the first European races already have begun.”
Race one: 1. Checa (ESP – Ducati), 2. Biaggi (ITA – Aprilia), 3. Haslam (GBR – BMW Motorrad Motorsport), 9. Troy Corser (AUS – BMW Motorrad Motorsport), 14. Ayrton Badovini (ITA – BMW Motorrad Italia), 17. James Toseland (GBR – BMW Motorrad Italia)
Race two: 1. Checa (ESP – Ducati), 2. Biaggi (ITA – Aprilia), 3. Melandri (ITA – Yamaha), 5. Haslam (GBR – BMW Motorrad Motorsport), 14. James Toseland (GBR – BMW Motorrad Italia), 19 Troy Corser (AUS – BMW Motorrad Motorsport), 14. DNF – Ayrton Badovini (ITA – BMW Motorrad Italia)
Points: 1. Checa – 50, 2. Biaggi – 40, 3. Melandri – 27, 3. Haslam – 27, 14. Corser – 6, 16. Toseland – 2, 16. Badovini – 2
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posted by motortradesolutions.net at 08:11