Haslam endures tough times in Portugal
LEON HASLAM suffered a first non point-scoring finish of the year after finishing the opening race in 19th place and then retiring from the race two in round 13 of the World Superbike Championship at Portimao in Portugal.
The opening 22-lap race – started in wet conditions – was stopped on the eighth lap after oil was spilt on the circuit from another rider’s damaged engine. On the restart Haslam was reported to have jumped the start so received a ‘ride through’ penalty.
While taking the penalty, and with conditions improving, Haslam decided to change tyres, a move which officials penalised and handed the luckless BMW rider a second ‘ride through’. Haslam eventually finished in 19th place, recording the third fastest lap of a frustrating race.
In the second race, held in dry conditions, Haslam was in confident mood after two encouraging days of dry qualifying left him in fifth place on the grid. However, on the second lap, disaster struck and a technical issue forced him out of the race.
“What a disappointing day,” admitted Haslam. “All weekend I was so confident with the slick, dry weather tyre and with the race set-up and then today it rained!
“Normally I like the rain, but today it was difficult. For race one I thought that it would dry up so we chose the intermediate rear tyre which was a bit of a gamble. But it obviously didn’t dry up before the race was red flagged on lap eight.
“As before, for the restart the track still had not dried much so we decided to go with the same as all the other guys, but I made a jump start. Then, even before I had the ride through penalty, I had an issue with the machine in the wet so after I’d entered the pitlane twice the race was done for me.”
He concluded: “In race two I didn’t get the best start but the race pace wasn’t that fast – more than two seconds slower than what I did in qualifying on the same tyres. Anyway, on the second lap I had a technical issue and had to stop. It was nobody’s fault but it was me again who had the bad luck. This is all very frustrating.”
World Superbike Championship, round 13, Portimao, Portugal.
Race one (16 laps – 73.472km/45.626 miles): 1 Tom Sykes, GB (Kawasaki) 31m 42.011s – 139.063s/86.358smph, 2 Carlos Checa, Spain (Ducati) +0.300s, 3 Sylvain Guintoli, France (Ducati) +2.732s, 4 Max Biaggi, Italy (Aprilia) +11.564s, 5 Brett McCormick, Canada (Ducati) +11.771s, 6 Jonathan Rea, GB (Honda) +11.792s, 7 Loris Baz, France (Kawasaki) +28.693s, 8 Hiroshi Aoyama, Japan (Honda) +29.581s, 9 Ayrton Badovini, Italy (BMW) +31.507s, 10 Michel Fabrizio, Italy (BMW) +31.587s. 19 Leon Haslam, GB (BMW) +1 lap.
Race two (22 laps – 101.024km/62.736 miles): 1 Eugene Laverty, GB (Aprilia) 38m 35.105s – 157.093s/97.555mph, 2 Jonathan Rea, GB (Honda) +0.162s, 3 Max Biaggi, Italy (Aprilia) +3.766s, 4 Sylvain Guintoli, France (Ducati) +10.440s, 5 Carlos Checa, Spain (Ducati) +20.153s, 6 Ayrton Badovini, Italy (BMW) +23.152s, 7 Loris Baz, France (Kawasaki) +27.314s, 8 Michel Fabrizio, Italy (BMW) +35.682, 9 Brett McCormick, Canada (Ducati) +35.766s, 10 Lorenzo Lanzi, Italy (Ducati) +38.311s. DNF Leon Haslam, GB (BMW).
World Championship points after 13 of 14 rounds: 1 Biaggi 347, 2 Sykes 316.5, 3 Melandri 308.5, 4 Checa 278.5, 5 Rea 255.5, 6 Laverty 241.5, 7 Haslam 189, 8 Guintoli 172.5, 9 Davies 156.5, 10 Fabrizio 133.5.
Manufacturers points: 1 Aprilia 422.5, 2 BMW 394, 3 Ducati 375, 4 Kawasaki 356.5, 5 Honda 270.5, 6 Suzuki 130.5.
2012 World Superbike Championship: 1. February 26 – Phillip Island, Australia; 2. April 1 – Imola, Italy; 3. April 22 – Assen, Holland; 4. May 6 – Monza, Italy; 5. May 13 – Donington Park, GB; 6. May 28 – Salt Lake City, USA; 7. June 10 – Misano, San Marino; 8. July 1 – Aragon, Spain; 9. July 22 – Brno, Czech Republic; 10. August 5 – Silverstone, GB; 11. August 26 – Moscow, Russia; 12. September 9 – Nurburgring, Germany; 13. September 23 – Portimao, Portugal; 14. October 7 - Magny-Cours, France.