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17 October 2011

Haslam secures fifth place


Haslam secures fifth place in 2011 WSBK championship!

2011 Superbike World Championship race report from Portimao, Portugal

BMW Motorrad Motorsport’s Leon Haslam safely secured a top-five finish in the 2011 Superbike World Championship after two hard-fought races at Portimao circuit in Portugal today.

In race one, Leon Haslam made a decent start from the third row of the grid, battling in the early stages with Max Biaggi and Tom Sykes. The tough Brit actually fought his way up to sixth place in the early stages, but with six riders closely vying for track position around him, there was pressure and constant challenges from many racers, especially Noriyuki Haga and Maxime Berger.

With tyre life an issue at the physically demanding Algarve circuit, Haslam eventually brought home his S 1000 RR in ninth place, with BMW Motorrad Italia’s Ayrton Badovini in 13th, just in front of Troy Corser in 14th. The winner of race one was new world champion Carlos Checa, who also celebrated his 20th WSBK victory.

In race two – the final race of the year – Leon was pushed wide on the first turn and was left with a lot of work to do from the back of the pack. Ayrton Badovini made a decent start into the top 10 and fought his way past Haga and Camier in the first two laps to move up into the top seven. Having won here last year in the FIM Superstock 1000 Cup race, Ayrton looked comfortable on his RR as he moved into the top six on lap 3.

With Camier, Tom Sykes and Max Biaggi mounting a fight-back, Badovini was forced to concede a place to Camier on lap 6 as he was out-braked at the end of the start-finish straight. Leon Haslam, meanwhile, was setting his fastest lap of the race on his RR, but all the way back in 16th place.


Two laps later, last year’s double race winner Max Biaggi out-dragged Badovini on the start-finish straight, leaving the talented Italian WSBK rookie to consolidate his top 10 placing as the race neared its conclusion. He eventually finished in a respectable ninth place, securing tenth in the overall standings, while Leon salvaged a single point by finishing in 15th. Troy Corser, competing in his 377th and final WSBK race, finished just behind Leon. The final race of the year was won by Marco Melandri, who will be lining up alongside Leon Haslam for BMW Motorrad Motorsport next year.


Leon Haslam: “We knew that it is going to be a tough weekend and as we had expected, we were struggling with the bike in race one. From the first lap on we had to fight and it was a long, hard race. It was just about bringing it home and trying to get as many points as possible. We were in the top 10, so we improved from where we qualified. At the start of the second race I was struggling so much that I ran off the track. That put me way back. Throughout the race the consistency was a little bit better, but I lost the front quite often and the rear tyre had blistered up. Those were too many issues to get a good result with. But we already knew that we would struggle this weekend. Now I am looking forward to the future and to the 2012 season which starts on Tuesday with our test here.”

Troy Corser: “I am a little disappointed about the results. That was not really how I wanted to finish my racing career, as we struggled the whole weekend. We were able to improve the bike by changing some settings but we still did not have enough grip and lost a lot of time. I just rode as hard as I could with what I had and gave my best. It was a shame because we made very good steps throughout the year and I was hoping to transfer that here. The team and I tried everything, but that was not enough. I was not the only one to struggle with grip, as a lot of guys were sliding around, so it was just a matter of bringing it home without a crash. All in all I have to say that I enjoyed every bit of it though – it was frustrating at times, but there have been some good times as well.”

Bernhard Gobmeier (BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director): “Due to Troy’s last start in the Superbike World Championship this was an historic day. Of course we would have hoped for a better result for him but this weekend was difficult from the beginning. In the early stages of race one it went quite well for us but then we experienced severe issues with grip and tyres. Now we are looking forward to the new season and beginning our preparations with full swing, starting with our test on Tuesday.”


Results

Race one: 1. Checa (ESP – Ducati),
2. Guintoli (FRA – Ducati),
3. Rea (GBR – Honda),

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

Race two:
1. Melandri (ITA – Yamaha),
2. Laverty (IRL – Yamaha),
3. Rea (GBR – Honda),

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

Points:
1. Checa – 505,
2. Melandri – 395,
3. Biaggi – 303,

5. Haslam – 224,
10. Badovini – 165,
15. Corser – 87


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