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03 October 2011

Haslam back on the podium!


2011 Superbike World Championship race report from Magny-Cours, France

BMW Motorrad Motorsport’s Leon Haslam equalled his best result on the BMW S 1000 RR today, when he was rewarded with a podium finish at Magny-Cours after a hard-fought first race. He followed this up with a fourth place in race two, rounding off an excellent weekend in France for the factory BMW team.

Having qualified seventh on the grid, Haslam made a decent start up to fifth place, but an early mistake relegated him down to ninth. His fightback saw him pass Noriyuki Haga on lap two, Jonathan Rea on lap three, Marco Melandri on lap four and then Tom Sykes several laps later.


On lap 10, Haslam caught and passed Sylvain Guintoli and then targeted Leon Camier, who he passed soon after to move into a podium position. Despite challenges from Camier, it was Melandri – who has just signed to ride for the BMW Motorrad Motorsport team for 2012 – who was the danger man. As Haslam closed down second-placed Eugene Laverty and out-braked him on lap 20, he ran wide, which allowed Melandri to slip through into second place. Haslam then had to regroup from back in fourth place, close down Laverty again and try to pass him, which he did successfully on the penultimate lap to move back into a podium position.

The race was won by Carlos Checa, who secured the 2011 Superbike World Championship title in doing so. Haslam’s third place finish equals his best result of the season so far. Troy Corser finished race one in ninth, after starting 16th on the grid.


Race two saw a decent start by Haslam, who held his grid position, while Troy Corser made a great start from row four and was up into 10th by the end of lap one. With Marco Melandri and Sylvain Guintoli for company, Haslam knew he had his work cut out, but he dug deep and set after the pack of six riders in front of him, bringing his two rivals along with him. As Melandri slipped past on lap four, Haslam followed him, the pair chasing down and passing Haga to move up the rankings.

When Jonathan Rea retired from second place on lap 14 with a technical problem, this promoted Haslam up to fifth. He continued his pursuit of Leon Camier, who he passed with just six laps remaining and set off after Melandri and a possible second podium finish of the day. In the end, time was against him and he finished in fourth place. A race-long battle between Troy Corser and Ayrton Badovini ended with Badovini the victor in eighth place on the BMW Motorrad Italia RR, just in front of Corser who was competing in his 375th WSBK race.

New WSBK Champion Carlos Checa ‘did the double’, winning race two and celebrating his 14th race victory of the year. With Haslam and Corser both achieving good results today in Magny-Cours, their total points haul of 43 made it the most successful weekend of the year so far for BMW Motorrad Motorsport.


Leon Haslam: “For sure we have to be happy with two strong results like we had today, but there is still room for improvement. I am happy with the weekend on a whole but we had a few issues in race two with the hotter conditions which prevented us from getting another podium finish. Still, we all understand the areas where we need to improve and we will go away from here and focus on putting everything right in time for Portimao.”

Troy Corser: “On the whole I am little disappointed. We have been strong and consistent all weekend and I was hoping for better results in all honesty. I have been happy with the RR throughout practice and the set-up seemed good for the races, but we really struggled for grip in the latter stages of both races. Two top 10 finishes on paper is not so bad, but with the pace we have shown we all expected a little bit more. Still we have some good information to work from going into Portimao in two weeks time.”

Bernhard Gobmeier: “Firstly, we must congratulate Carlos Checa for winning the world championship. With his commitment and his team he really deserved this success. Our positive results have been a nice reward and real payback for our hard work over the last weeks and months. The positions were justified but we are still not exactly where we want to be. Still we have proved that we can do the times to run at the front. We still have to work on some details so we can continue the consistent level of progression.”


Results

Race one:
1. Checa (ESP – Ducati),
2. Melandri (ITA – Yamaha),
3. Leon Haslam (GBR – BMW Motorrad Motorsport),

9. Troy Corser (AUS – BMW Motorrad Motorsport)

Race two:
1. Checa (ESP – Ducati),
2. Melandri (ITA – Yamaha,
3. Laverty (GBR – Yamaha),

4. Leon Haslam (GBR – BMW Motorrad Motorsport),
8. Ayrton Badovini (ITA – BMW Motorrad Italia),
9. Troy Corser (AUS – BMW Motorrad Motorsport)

Points:
1. Checa – 467,
2. Melandri – 360,
3. Laverty – 283,

5. Haslam – 216,
9. Badovini – 155,
15. Corser – 85

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