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08 May 2012

2nd place for Haslam

Hard-earned podium for Haslam at rain-affected Monza

A rain-affected day of racing at Monza saw BMW Motorrad Motorsport’s Leon Haslam come from 14th on the grid to finish in second place in the second World Superbike race of the day, after the first one was cancelled due to safety issues. Team-mate Marco Melandri finished in fourth, despite having fought his way up to third before the race was red-flagged due to rain falling on part of the circuit.

Having already played a big part in qualifying, the weather continued to affect the WSBK programme. After race one had been red-flagged and then subsequently cancelled, everyone was hopeful that race two would go ahead, despite the possibility of rain and some visible damp patches on the track.

However, after a short delay, a scheduled 16-lap race two got underway, with eventual winner Tom Sykes taking his chances and pulling a healthy lead in the early stages. With Sykes clearly out in front, it was left to the two BMW S 1000 RR riders and Aprilia team-mates Eugene Laverty and Max Biaggi to fight for the two remaining podium positions.

Haslam – who made a great start from the fourth row of the grid – had battled his way past Jonathan Rea, Biaggi, Laverty and his own team-mate, using both the slipstream effect and the power of the RR to slingshot past his fellow competitors. By half distance, with Haslam in second place and Melandri having just battled back up to third, it suddenly started to rain, bringing out the red flags. A result was declared and taken back to the last completed lap, relegating Melandri back to fourth place, but with Haslam able to celebrate his third podium of 2012.

“The conditions this weekend were tough, especially today with different track conditions," said Leon. "Anyhow I felt confident to fight for a top position. Starting from 14th on the grid was not ideal though as overtaking in these conditions is quite difficult as you have to leave the dry racing line. Anyway my race went really well, but when I was second Tom already had pulled away. A big credit to BMW Motorrad and my crew who did a great job. I am really happy to be back on the podium. I am now looking forward to racing in Donington at my 'home' race.”

Marco Melandri added: “It was the right decision today to cancel the first race. It had rained a lot, and there are different surfaces on the track. While the new tarmac doesn’t allow for the water to drain away, the old asphalt is different and dries up very quickly. It would have been dangerous to go out with the rain tyre under these conditions. The second race went well for me. I decided not to push too hard in the beginning of the race just to get into the rhythm. I started to feel really comfortable in the lap before the red flag. I felt quite good on the bike, but unfortunately the rain came too early.”

The final word went to Bernhard Gobmeier (BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director), who said: “It was dramatic how this weekend went, with our strong start in qualifying, the tricky and irregular conditions in Superpole and today’s extremely changeable weather. It would have been too dangerous to ride in the rain. So the red flags were absolutely right, because the safety of the riders has highest priority. Leon again showed a superb performance with his best result on the RR to date, despite his disappointment in Superpole.

"And thanks to Marco’s strong performance we nearly could have celebrated a double podium. But this is racing. A big thanks to the whole team for the hard work and to both riders, who gave their very best. We also send our heartiest congratulations to our BMW Motorsport colleagues for the victory and the third place at the EuroSpeedway Lausitz. We are delighted that our comeback to the DTM is so successful.”

Today’s result means that Marco is currently fourth in the 2012 championship on 72.5 points, with Leon sixth, on 68 points. The WSBK championship now moves on to Donington, England, which takes place next weekend.

Race one
Cancelled due to safety reasons

Race two
1. Sykes (GBR) Kawasaki 2. Leon Haslam (GBR) BMW Motorrad Motorsport; 3. Laverty (IRL) Aprilia; 4. Marco Melandri (ITA) BMW Motorrad Motorsport; 10. Badovini (ITA) BMW Motorrad Italia Goldbet; DNS. Fabrizio (ITA) BMW Motorrad Italia Goldbet.

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