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27 March 2011

Haslam moves up to third!

News from Vines BMW Bikes.
2011 Superbike World Championship, race report from Donington Park, UK

Two thrilling World Superbike races at Donington Park saw BMW Motorrad Motorsport’s Leon Haslam secure two hard-fought fourth places and 26 valuable championship points on his S 1000 RR, moving him up to third in the overall WSBK points standings.

Starting from second on the grid – his best qualifying position so far for the BMW Motorrad Motorsport team – Haslam led race one for the first six laps before struggling with electronics issues, which prevented him from challenging for the victory. Despite this, Haslam still looked good for a podium finish, until championship leader Carlos Checa forced his way past at the Melbourne Loop on the final lap, relegating Haslam to fourth position. His team-mate Troy Corser finished in ninth, while BMW Motorrad Italia’s Ayrton Badovini finished in 13th place.

In race two, it was Haslam who got the best start again, leading into Redgate corner and running at the front for the first three laps, before eventual winner Carlos Checa took the lead at the Melbourne Loop again. Haslam was then involved in track battles with former British Superbike Champion Leon Camier and race one winner Marco Melandri, which actually resulted in the factory BMW rider going off the track at Coppice Corner on lap eight, and having to rejoin the race down in eighth position.

Despite cutting his neck on his motorcycle screen, Haslam was determined to continue his race, and in the remaining laps, fought his way past Ruben Xaus, Jonathan Rea and Juan Lascorz to earn a hard-fought but well deserved fourth place. BMW Motorrad Italia’s Ayrton Badovini secured more valuable WSBK points again, with a superb ninth place, while Troy Corser was only able to finish in 14th place in race two.

Leon Haslam: “It has again been a tough weekend for us, but we have definitely made clear improvements from Australia, that’s for sure. In race one we had some issues which were similar to those I experienced at Phillip Island so we made some changes for the second race and it was a real improvement, especially in the second half of the race. I did make a mistake in the early laps of race two which dropped me back a number of places but I was happy that I could fight back and finish strong. We will now work hard to be ready for Assen.”

Troy Corser: “We have made improvements with the bike in some areas since Phillip Island which is a good thing, but we are still encountering some issues which we need to address before Assen. We are struggling with a lot of spin from the rear tyre and this is making it hard to run consistent times. The bike felt more settled and easier to ride with the changes we have made but like I said we still are having issues. We have a test coming up so hopefully we can make some good progress there and be ready for Assen.”

Aryton Badovini: “We struggled in race one, but we made some small changes for the second race with the tyre, and combined with a better start, I was able to finish in the top 10 which is great for us at this point in the season. The S 1000 RR feels like it is getting better all the time and I am enjoying riding it. We have some areas to focus on now before Assen and we are confident that we can continue to learn and improve.”

Bernhard Gobmeier – BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director: “It was a very exciting weekend. We were able to do good lap times all weekend but unfortunately when it came to the races, we found that Leon has some issues when pushing the bike to the limit and ultimately he was not able to ride the line he wanted to. Still we are happy that he improved to third in the riders’ classification and we know what areas we have to improve. Sadly Troy suffered all weekend from a lack of grip, which was partly due to the cool temperatures. With these conditions we were not able to get the best out of his tyre. We will use the knowledge we have gained from this weekend to make another step forward. We are all looking forward to Assen.”

Race one: 1. Melandri (ITA – Yamaha), 2. Smrz (CZE – Ducati), 3. Checa (ESP – Ducati), 4. Leon Haslam (GBR – BMW Motorrad Motorsport), 9. Troy Corser (AUS – BMW Motorrad Motorsport), 13. Ayrton Badovini (ITA – BMW Motorrad Italia)

Race two: 1. Checa (ESP – Ducati), 2. Melandri (ITA – Yamaha), 3. Camier (GBR – Aprilia), 4. Haslam (GBR – BMW Motorrad Motorsport), 9. Ayrton Badovini (ITA – BMW Motorrad Italia), 13. Troy Corser (AUS – BMW Motorrad Motorsport)

Points: 1. Checa – 91, 2. Melandri – 72, 3. Haslam – 53, 13. Corser – 16, 15. Badovini – 12

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