Podium progress for Leon Haslam

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SMALLEY racer Leon Haslam continued his progress with the development of the BMW S1000RR machine by recording the team’s first double podium at a World Superbike round as he finished third in both races of Sunday’s second round at Imola, Italy.

Haslam, starting from fourth place on the front row of the grid, was forced to battle hard in both races as he dropped to sixth in the opening 21-lap affair before making his way forward to a podium finish.

In the second outing of the day Haslam again proved the potential of the machine and himself as he broke the lap record for the 3.07-mile circuit three times on his way to completing his best day with BMW since joining the team last year.

“I’m very happy with the consistency we had all weekend and to take two podium finishes is a sign of how far we have come with realising the potential of the machine,” said Haslam.

He continued: “The team worked fantastically all weekend and being at the top end of the timesheets from Friday was good and always leave you feeling like you’ve got a chance of challenging for victory.

“We’ve obviously still got a long way to go to be in the position we’re striving for and to challenge for wins at every round but this weekend feels like a decent step forward.

“With the S1000RR it’s not just about making improvements but more about understanding what is happening and why and ensuring the set-up so the Pirelli race tyres have the longevity required, like we did this weekend.”

Haslam moves from eighth to fourth place in the World Championship after two of the 14 rounds with the next round on April 22 at Assen in the north of Holland.

World Championship points after two of 14 rounds: 1 Checa 75, 2 Biaggi 71, 3 Sykes 69, 4 Haslam 47, 5 Melandri 46, 6 Rea 40, 7 Smrz 30, 8 Laverty 29, 9 Guintoli 21, 10 Berger 20.