Motorcycling: Haslam's rare route to British glory
Saturday 25 March 2006
The Derbyshire rider Leon Haslam will today launch a campaign to win the British Superbike Championship armed with a pair of the rarest machines in motorcycle racing.
Ducati have made only eight of their 999cc FO6 V-twins and Haslam will ride one of them during qualifying at Brands Hatch for tomorrow's two races at the opening round of the series.
"It's a fantastic bike, fitted with traction control," Haslam said. "It allows you to open the throttle earlier and more aggressively. It also helps to avoid big high-side crashes: the rear tyre can still spin, but the electronics control how much."
Haslam is the strongest British hope in a series dominated last year by the Spaniard Gregorio Lavilla, 31, and the 23-year-old Japanese sensation Ryuichi Kiyonari. Lavilla is Haslam's team-mate in the Dunlop-shod Airwaves Ducati squad, while Kiyonari leads HM Plant Honda's challenge on their CBR1000R Fireblade and Michelin rubber.
"I want to win the British title and then get into a competitive team in MotoGP," said Haslam, the son of former grand prix rider "Rocket Ron" Haslam.
Kiyonari won 12 races last year, more than any other competitor, but he and his team-mate Michael Rutter crashed too often and the title slipped out of Honda's hands.
Now desperate to win the Britain's premier series for the first time in two decades, Honda have put Kiyonari through nearly 3,000 miles of winter testing on the £250,000 Fireblade. The Japanese firm will also truck 6,500kg of parts to support their riders at each of the 13 rounds.
Shane Byrne, the 2003 champion, returns after two barren years in MotoGP, but a test programme conducted on bitterly cold English circuits will not help his chances on Rizla Suzuki's GSX-R1000.
The title chase looks like being a three-way fight between Kiyonari, Lavilla, and Haslam, but Karl Harris - making his superbike debut as Kiyonari's partner - has been quick in testing and could get podiums.
BSB race days
Tomorrow Brands Hatch
9 April Donington Park
17 April Thruxton
1 May Oulton Park
21 May Mondello Park
4 June Mallory Park
18 June Snetterton
16 July Knockhill
23 July Oulton Park
13 Aug Croft
28 Aug Cadwell Park
17 Sept Silverstone
1 Oct Brands Hatch
educationTo mark International Women's Day, Sarah Brown on how charities have brought proper joined-up thinking to the delivery of education
Latest in Sport
Michael Schumacher: Ferrari president Luca Cordero di Montezemolo admits he is still in shock over accident
Jose Mourinho claims Cristiano Ronaldo and his Real Madrid team-mates spend too much time looking in the mirror
Is this the cutest pitch invasion ever? Brazil squad embrace young South African fan in heartwarming scenes after friendly match
Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez a World Cup doubt after suffering knee injury in Mexico's draw with Nigeria
World Cup 2014: So, who's on the plane to Brazil?
- 1 The future of sex: The first female condoms were derided, mistrusted and shunned - but will their modern counterparts catch on?
- 2 South African rhino finally put down after roaming Kruger park for days with horn hacked off and bullet in brain
- 3 Study suggests that 'gaydars' are real - at least for women
- 4 Man stabbed with Legend of Zelda Master Sword in serious condition
- 5 First clip of Outkast's Andre 3000 in Jimi Hendrix biopic All Is By My Side emerges
Apple's Tim Cook: Business isn’t just about making profit
Thousands of young people forced to go without food after benefits wrongly stopped under 'draconian' new sanctions regime
Ukraine crisis: New navy chief 'defects' and surrenders Crimean HQ as Putin claims ultranationalists forced intervention
Ukraine crisis: Russia dismisses '3am ultimatum' as 'total nonsense'
If you're horrified by a flame-roasted dog, you should be shocked at a hog roast
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
£80000 - £90000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Urgent - Year 5 Teacher required for a I...
£110 - £150 per day + Negotiable DOE: Randstad Education Group: Year 3 teacher...
£120 - £165 per day + Competitive: Randstad Education Leeds: Primary Supply Te...