Smalley race ace suffers disappointing weekend

Leon  Haslam''Photo by Graeme Brown

Leon Haslam''Photo by Graeme Brown

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It was a disappointing end to the 2013 World Superbike championship season for Pata Honda at Jerez in Spain at the weekend with riders Michel Fabrizio and Smalley’s Leon Haslam struggling with grip and electronics issues.

Fabrizio took a points-scoring finish in race two but Haslam was forced to retire from both 21-lap outings at the 4.423km Jerez circuit in southern Spain. Both races were won by Eugene Laverty but Tom Sykes, by finishing third in race one, secured the 2013 World Superbike championship title.

The Pata Honda team re-grouped yesterday (Tuesday) for a private test at Jerez when regular rider Jonathan Rea was expected to return from injury and the preparation work for the 2014 World Superbike championship season was due to begin.

Michel Fabrizio explained: “We have had grip level problems all weekend and the disappointing thing is that we were not able to find a solution. This resulted in two very difficult races for me and I am sad that I had to finish the season in this way. I have enjoyed the opportunity to ride the CBR with this team and I wish Jonathan a happy return to the bike.”

Leon Haslam said: “It’s difficult to know what to say, really. It’s been an unbelievably disappointing way to finish what has been a really difficult season. I’m glad to see the back of it to be honest and we’ll try to analyse what happened this weekend so that we can plan to get things in place for 2014.

Pieter Breddels, technical co-ordinator, said: “It has not been a good weekend. Grip levels were low and we know that in these conditions we normally struggle more than our rivals. This time round, our performance kind of dropped off a cliff – we weren’t able to fight for anything and all we could do was gather some information.

“We have work to do for next season for sure.”