Tough end to season for Leon Haslam

SMALLEY racer Leon Haslam battled to ninth and 15th places in last Sunday’s two races at the Portimao circuit in Portugal that marked the end of the 2011 World Superbike Championship.

In the opening race, Haslam, having qualified in 11th place fought through to sixth place in the early stages of the 22-lap encounter but was unable to progress further and was eventually forced to settle for ninth place.

The 28-year-old�s second race began in disappointing fashion as he ran wide at the first corner and dropped to 19th place, working back to 15th place and to claim the final World Championship point of the 2011 season.

Haslam finished the 13-round, 26-race World Championship in fifth place, having scored points in 23 of the races, highlighted by third place finishes in Australia, Italy and France.

“We knew the weekend was going to be tough from the initial, early laps on Friday morning as the circuit was quite demanding for the BMW S1000RR”,� explained Haslam.

“But the team worked hard and definitely gave me an opportunity to be in the top six in both races but then a combination of our season-long troubles under-braking and inconsistent rear tyres contributed to a disappointing end to the year for the team and myself.

“This has been the third year of the project for BMW and the first year they’ve finished in the top ten of the World Championship so the progress is evident but we want to be higher than fifth place now.

“On Tuesday we’ve got our first test for 2012 with quite a lot of new materials to try and new staff arriving so I’m really looking forward to getting the BMW up to speed and in a position to challenge for the 2012 World Superbike Championship.”

World Superbike Championship, round 13, Portimao, Portugal.

Race results; (both races 22 laps � 101.024km / 62.736 miles); Race one: 1 Carlos Checa, Spain (Ducati) 38m 13.293s � 158.587kmh/98.483mph, 2 Sylvain Guintoli, France (Ducati) +2.860s, 3 Jonathan Rea, GB (Honda) +8.481s, 4 Max Biaggi, Italy (Aprilia) +11.963s, 5 Joan Lascorz, Spain (Kawasaki) +13.333s, 6 Marco Melandri, Italy (Yamaha) +18.960s, 7 Maxime Berger, France (Ducati) +20.489s, 8 Tom Sykes, GB (Kawasaki) +25.320s, 9 Leon Haslam, GB (BMW) +26.695s, 10 Jakub Smrz, Czech Republic (Ducati) +26.801s.

Race two: 1 Marco Melandri, Italy (Yamaha) 38m 11.326s � 158.723kmh/98.567mph, 2 Eugene Laverty, GB (Yamaha) +1.075s, 3 Jonathan Rea, GB (Honda) +1.363s, 4 Carlos Checa, Spain (Ducati) +2.648s, 5 Sylvain Guintoli, France (Ducati) +3.355s, 6 Leon Camier, GB (Aprilia) +4.709s, 7 Max Biaggi, Italy (Aprilia) +6.514, 8 Joan Lascorz, Spain (Kawasaki) +14.441s, 9 Ayrton Badovini, Italy (BMW) +19.128s, 10 Maxime Berger, France (Ducati) +25.527s. 15 Leon Haslam, GB (BMW) +30.951s.

Final World Championship points, after 13 rounds: 1 Checa 505, 2 Melandri 395, 3 Biaggi 303, 4 Laverty 303, 5 Haslam 224, 6 Guintoli 210, 7 Camier 208, 8 Haga 176, 9 Rea 170, 10 Badovini 165.

Final Manufacturers points: 1 Ducati 529, 2 Yamaha 450, 3 Aprilia 422, 4 BMW 275, 5 Kawasaki 228, 6 Honda 194, 7 Suzuki 169.