Leon Haslam battled to seventh and sixth place finishes respectively in round eight of the World Superbike Championship at Aragon in Spain.
The BMW rider qualified on the front row of the grid for the two 20-lap races before a wrong rear tyre choice ended his chances of victory in the opening encounter and race two mistakes prevented a sixth podium finish of the season.
“In race one we simply opted for the wrong compound rear tyre,” admitted Haslam.
“In the warm up in the morning, the race tyre that we had already chosen only lasted seven laps so we made a last-minute gamble to go with the hardest tyre which we had not really run over the weekend.
“We knew that the pace of the tyre would not be so good at the beginning of the race but hoped that it would come good at the end. My lap times remained constant but I just had zero grip. It was the wrong choice and we missed out on a podium as I felt I could have definitely challenged Carlos Checa for third.”
Haslam continued: “In race two I had a better start and felt pretty good but then ran off the circuit and lost a lot of time. I pushed again and got back up to battle with Checa and Sykes and a few other guys but ran off the circuit again.
“Every time I went a little bit deeper on the brakes I really struggled. I was pretty happy to finish ahead of Sykes and Checa but I felt that we had a good enough pace, especially at the end of the race, to be in the leading group. There were just too many mistakes today.�
Race results (both races 20 laps - 106.880km/66.372 miles); Race one: 1 Max Biaggi, Italy (Aprilia) 39m 51.188s - 160.911kmh/99.926mph, 2 Marco Melandri, Italy (BMW) +0.278s, 3 Carlos Checa, Spain (Ducati) +9.462s, 4 Chaz Davies, GB (Aprilia) +10.827s, 5 Eugene Laverty, GB (Aprilia) +15.708s, 6 Michel Fabrizio, Italy (BMW) +27.597s, 7 Leon Haslam, GB (BMW) +29.032s.
Race two: 1 Marco Melandri, Italy (BMW) 39m 59.200s - 160.373kmh/99.592mph, 2 Eugene Laverty, GB (Aprilia) +0.042s, 3 Chaz Davies, GB (Aprilia) +0.446s, 4 Max Biaggi, Italy (Aprilia) +0.484s, 5 Jonathan Rea, GB (Honda) +6.611s, 6 Leon Haslam, GB (BMW) +7.491s.
World Championship points after eight of 14 rounds: 1 Biaggi 248.5, 2 Melandri 200.5, 3 Rea 183, 4 Checa 175.5, 5 Sykes 172.5, 6 Haslam 142, 7 Laverty 126, 8 Guintoli 110, 9 Giugliano 94, 10 Davies 78.