Kawasaki

BSB – Haslam sets the pace at Donington

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Leon Haslam topped the times after the opening day of the 2017 BSB championship as the home hero set the pace in the afternoon free practice session as defending champion Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne ended his practice prematurely with a technical problem.

Haslam had finished second to Byrne in the morning session, but in the afternoon the times began to tumble and he surged to the top of the times, just holding off his team-mate Luke Mossey by 0.132s at the chequered flag.

Haslam said: “The opening day here has gone really well. We have done a full race run on both the soft and harder tyre options. We are looking good for the weekend and I think we just need to carry the momentum into the sessions tomorrow.”

It wasn’t the perfect start to his title defence for Byrne; the five-time champion had topped the times in the opening session, but in the afternoon a technical problem ended his track time with just over 20 minutes remaining on the clock.

Byrne said: “That was a little bit frustrating really for us. Where the sessions are closer together now, for the second session the silicone we used to seal the casing didn’t have enough time and I went out and rode, but basically it started to seep and that was the problem.”

It was a strong start to his return for Josh Brookes; the 2015 champion instantly running inside the top three on his debut with the Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha team and holding third position ahead of Peter Hickman on the Smiths Racing BMW.

James Ellison leapt up the order in the closing stages of the session to move fourth for McAMS Yamaha ahead of John Hopkins, who had run inside the top four before a crash at Craner Curves ended his session early in the final ten minutes of second practice.

Sylvain Guintoli had a welcome return to the championship holding seventh place for the Bennetts Suzuki team ahead of Glenn Irwin and Tyco BMW’s Christian Iddon in ninth after he also crashed unhurt at Craner Curves.

Byrne completed the top ten as he dropped down the order in the final stages of the session ahead of rookie Bradley Ray, who had been running inside the top ten, finishing ahead of Davide Giugliano and Michael Laverty. The top Honda Racing contender was Jason O’Halloran in 14th position.

MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship, Donington Park, free practice one:

  1. Shane Byrne (Be Wiser Ducati) 1m:29.834s
  2. Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) +0.287s
  3. Josh Brookes (Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha) +0.340s
  4. Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW) +0.408s
  5. John Hopkins (Moto Rapido Ducati) +0.547s
  6. Glenn Irwin (Be Wiser Ducati) +0.686s
  7. Christian Iddon (Tyco BMW) +0.749s
  8. Sylvain Guintoli (Bennetts Suzuki) +0.837s
  9. Luke Mossey (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) +0.846s
  10. Jake Dixon (RAF Kawasaki) +1.100s

MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship, Donington Park, free practice two:

  1. Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) 1m:29.323s
  2. Luke Mossey (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) +0.132s
  3. Josh Brookes (Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha) +0.168s
  4. Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW) +0.420s
  5. James Ellison (McAMS Yamaha) +0.521s
  6. John Hopkins (Moto Rapido Ducati) +0.603s
  7. Sylvain Guintoli (Bennetts Suzuki) +0.633s
  8. Glenn Irwin (Be Wiser Ducati) +0.641s
  9. Christian Iddon (Tyco BMW) +0.689s
  10. Shane Byrne (Be Wiser Ducati) +0.738s
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BSB –Byrne dominates Showdown opener and does the double at Donington

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Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne celebrated a double dose of victory in the opening round of the BSB Showdown at Donington Park.

The four-time champion fought intensely with his title rival Leon Haslam, who finished second in Race One but crashed out of contention while battling to settle the score in Race Two.

In the opening Showdown race Byrne claimed a storming victory to move back to the top of the standings by just two points from arch rival Haslam who finished second.

At the start of race one Title Fighter James Ellison had taken the initial advantage from his team-mate Haslam, Byrne and Christian Iddon. Byrne was instantly on the attack though and moved into second with a move at the Hairpin on the second lap.

The Be Wiser Ducati rider then waited a lap later to make a pass on Haslam with a dive down the inside at the Esses to hit the front of the pack. It was on the same lap that Title Fighter Luke Mossey run straight on into the Esses before retiring to the pitlane with a brake issue.

Byrne and Haslam then pushed on at the front, with Byrne gradually edging a gap on his main title rival to win the race. The battle for third went down to the final laps and Honda Racing’s Jason O’Halloran was pushing to move back into the top three. The Australian waited until there were just three laps to go before pulling off a move into the Esses and then fending off the JG Speedfit Kawasaki rider.

Peter Hickman was able to fight off Richard Cooper and Dan Linfoot in an intense battle for fifth place with Iddon holding eighth after dropping back down the order with an off track moment at Goddards earlier in the race. John Hopkins and Michael Laverty completed the top ten.

In Race Two Haslam looked to have the edge off the line as the pack steamed into the Craner Curves for the first time, but Ellison forced his way through with a determined move to take the lead.

O’Halloran was denied the chance to try and make his Race One podium a repeat performance when he crashed out at the old Hairpin when the pack concentinered up. The Australian was left clearly frustrated as he now drops to fifth place in the Showdown standings ahead of Assen.

At the front Ellison was holding off Haslam and Byrne, but the JG Speedfit Kawasaki team-mates were soon to swap positions when the ‘Pocket Rocket’ moved ahead on the seventh lap. Ellison was then under fire from Byrne, who a lap later forced his way ahead as he focused on Haslam ahead of him.

Haslam and Byrne were then scrapping at the front, but as the pair dived for the Melbourne Loop, Ellison pulled one of the most spectacular moves of the season to ride around the outside of the duelling pair.

Ellison led over the line but Haslam then moved back ahead in one of the most intense races of the season so far between the leading trio. Ellison was dropping down the order as he began to lose grip and Linfoot took the advantage to move into third.

Haslam and Byrne were dicing at the front but then disaster struck the former championship leader when he crashed out at Redgate; frustrated the local hero was forced to watch the remainder of the race from the sidelines, subsequently falling 27 points behind double winner Byrne with still five races of the Showdown remaining.

Haslam’s crash promoted Tyco BMW’s Iddon to third behind Linfoot as he returned to the podium for the first time since the second round.

The battle for fourth went to JG Speedfit Kawasaki with Peter Hickman leading Richard Cooper and Tommy Bridewell, who had a full-blown battle to the finish after Ellison dropped down the order to seventh. Luke Mossey, Billy McConnell and Glenn Irwin completed the top ten.

Byrne leads the Title Fighters to Assen , enjoying a 27 point advantage over Haslam, but Linfoot is now just 26 points adrift of second place with Ellison hot on his heels ahead of O’Halloran. Mossey ended a tough weekend with a single eighth place to hold sixth in the standings.

 

WSBK – Davies dominates in the dry, Rea reigns in the rain

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The first of the two WSBK races after the summer break at the German Lausitz EuroSpeedway circuit, a track where the factory derivative World championship has not raced since 2007, finished with Ducati’s Chaz Davies claiming the Race One win.

The Welshman’s domination of the race was a crushing blow to the Kawasaki duo of Tom Sykes and Johnny Rea, winning with a gap of more than ten seconds ahead of his nearest rival Sykes, posting the best lap time and snatching pole in the morning.

Davies got off the line well, followed by the trio of Sykes, Rea and Italian Lorenzo Savadori on the IodaRacing Team bike, with Davide Giugliano, Nicky Hayden, Jordi Torres and Michael Van Der Mark squabbling for honours in the second pack.

The first surprise of the race came in the seventh lap when Jonathan Rea, in third place at the time, crashed after going long on a corner and was forced to retire to pit lane. The Ulsterman later admitted that a false neutral had caused him to crash, an issue which has blighted his title defence, costing him a whole host of valuable points.

Lorenzo Savadori (riding in a provisional podium position) then joined him a lap later, retiring after losing the front end of his bike and ending up in the gravel.

Lap nine saw the race lose one of its protagonists, with local hero Markus Reiterberger forced to retire because of a technical problem with his BMW.

In the meantime, Davies continued to ride undisturbed at the front, stretching out his advantage over his nearest rival, Tom Sykes to six seconds.

The second part of the race had no more exciting surprises in store for the leading riders, and Davies crossed the line first with more than ten seconds on the second place finisher, Tom Sykes, and eleven ahead of the third place rider, Honda’s Nicky Hayden.

The victory gives the Welshman his fifth win of the season after his double wins at Aragón and Imola and strengthens his hold on third place in the overall standings.

If the weather conditions were fair on Saturday, Race 2 was almost wash out. In fact, just a few moments before the start, light but persistent rain began to fall on the track, forcing race direction to delay the start no less than twice before deciding on a reduced, 16-lap race.

At the start, Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes got off the line well, overtaking Chaz Davies on the Ducati to move into the lead. A few corners later, Jonathan Rea also managed to get past the Welshman. Unfortunately, Sykes was unable to finish even the first lap, sliding to the ground before completing it, but managing to remount and rejoin the race in penultimate place.

The race lead went to his teammate Jonathan Rea, ahead of the Ducati pair of Davide Giugliano, in second place, and Davies in third.

On the fourth lap Davide Giugliano suffered a heavy crash, followed quickly by Lorenzo Savadori, Anthony West and Jordi Torres. The wet conditions were wreaking havoc, and on Lap 11 Yamaha’s Alex Lowes fell, as did Honda’s Michael van der Mark four laps later. The Dutchman’s bike took a proper beating but he was able to remount and rejoined the race in eighth place.

Towards the end of the race, Yamaha’s Sylvain Guintoli, who was returning to racing following a lengthy injury lay-off, overtook Davies to move into fifth place, but it was Rea who prevailed, crossing the line an astonishing 13 seconds ahead of Italian Alex De Angelis on the IodaRacing Team bike, and 15 seconds ahead of Xavi Forés on the Barni Racing Team machine in third place. Leon Camier piloted his MV Agusta to fourth place ahead of Sylvain Guintoli and Chaz Davies.

BSB – Haslam sets fastest ever lap of Cadwell Park to claim pole position

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Kawasaki’s Leon Haslam delivered an inch perfect lap to claim pole position in qualifying ahead of tomorrow’s at Cadwell Park, smashing his own lap record in the process.

An intense qualifying session first saw Tyco BMW’s Christian Iddon crash out unhurt in Q2 at Mansfield to end his run prematurely, leaving him 13th on the grid for race one. He wasn’t the only rider to slide out of the action as Dan Linfoot was narrowly holding ninth before a crash at the Mountain. The Honda Racing rider was luckily able to still make the cut for Q3 and the team rapidly made the changes to get him back out in the final session to qualify ninth.

Buildbase BMW’s Lee Jackson was the first to complete a flying lap, putting the Buildbase BMW at the top of the times, but just a few minutes later his team-mate Richard Cooper forged ahead.

Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne was on a charge, but the Be Wiser Ducati rider couldn’t quite better Cooper’s time initially and moved into second place. It wasn’t long before Haslam moved ahead, pushing Byrne back to third with Cooper still holding the top spot.

There was just 0.003s between Cooper and Haslam, but the ‘Pocket Rocket’ was on his final run and in the last minute he set the fastest ever lap of the Lincolnshire circuit to go to the top of the times, breaking his record time which has stood since 2007.

Byrne’s final lap put him second, just ahead of Cooper who completes the front row. Jackson was pushed back onto row two in the final seconds ahead of Jason O’Halloran on the leading Honda Racing Fireblade and Luke Mossey on the Quattro Plant Teccare Kawasaki.

Tommy Bridewell’s last lap push saw him move up to seventh ahead of James Ellison and Linfoot, with the top nine covered by just 0.754s ahead of tomorrow’s opening race!

Cadwell Park qualifying:

  1.  Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) 1m:25.923s
  2.  Shane Byrne (Be Wiser Ducati) +0.236s
  3.  Richard Cooper (Buildbase BMW) +0.239s
  4.  Lee Jackson (Buildbase BMW) +0.286s
  5.  Jason O’Halloran (Honda Racing) +0.450s
  6.  Luke Mossey (Quattro Plant Teccare Kawasaki) +0.459s
  7.  Tommy Bridewell (Bennetts Suzuki) +0.494s
  8.  James Ellison (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) +0.710s
  9.  Dan Linfoot (Honda Racing) +0.754s

WSBK – Rea wins Race One at Laguna Seca

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The first 25-lap WSBK race of the Laguna Seca weekend was dominated by the Kawasaki factory riders, with Jonathan Rea eventually claiming the win from team-mate Tom Sykes.

Each had led the race on two occasions, with Rea upping his pace enough at the end to finish 0.819 seconds ahead Sykes. This was Rea’s first race win at the 3.610km long American venue.

From the start of the battle at the intense Laguna Seca circuit the action was close and combative. Overtakes were put in between the leading trio of Rea, Sykes and Ducati factory rider Chaz Davies at the largely one-line circuit but on lap five Davies fell and was unable to restart.

When the shadowing figure of Ducati’s Davide Giugliano also fell from third place, the fight was on between Rea and Sykes,  and Rea eased out his lead after re-passing Sykes with five laps to go. Pushing on in the dry but windy conditions, Rea recorded his eighth win of the season and the 37th of his career – his latest victory kept his 100 per cent podium finishing record intact in the best possible way.

With Sykes close behind him at the flag Rea still extended his championship lead over his team-mate to 71 points – 368 to 297 – with one more race to come on Sunday at Laguna, before the start of the long summer break.

Earlier on Saturday Sykes had won Superpole to earn his seventh pole position starting place of the year, and the 37th of his career. Rea had qualified only 0.055 seconds behind and was second on the grid.

Jonathan Rea, said: “I am super happy to have won here and now that we have had 25 laps on the bike in race conditions we have good information for tomorrow, to try and improve again. I am happy with the result but it was, honestly, not my most beautiful race because I made quite a lot of mistakes. I am sure when I watch it back I will be quite upset with myself but the most important thing is the 25 points for winning. That is good for everything – for the morale of the team and the championship. We have one more race tomorrow and it will be important to do a good job then before the start of the eight week summer break.”

BSB – leading duo claim a win apiece at Knockhill

MCE British Superbike Championship

Honda Racing

British Superbike Championship titans Leon Haslam and Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne claimed a win apiece at the fourth round at Knockhill in an incredible pair of races.

In the opening dry race at the Scottish circuit Kawasaki’s Haslam served up his third victory of the season after an intense fight for the win with Honda Racing’s Dan Linfoot.

As the race got underway Jason O’Halloran had hit the front of the pack from Haslam and John Hopkins, with the ‘Pocket Rocket’ hitting the lead with a decisive move on the third lap. As the pair diced for the lead, Byrne was pushing to move up the order, but crashed out on the fourth lap at the Hairpin, collecting Briggs Equipment BMW’s Jake Dixon as he fell.

The incident bought out the safety car and the pack formed up with Haslam leading Hopkins. By Lap 11 Hopkins was looking menacing at the front, briefly taking the lead for the ePayMe Yamaha team, but as they streamed down to the Hairpin Haslam made a strong move to regain the lead.

Linfoot was also on the move, pushing ahead of Hopkins to go second as Luke Mossey carved his way through the field and then also made a move on the American to move into third.

Linfoot then began piling the pressure on Haslam for the lead, regaining the position on the run into Turn One. However, just two laps later Haslam repaid the move with a pass down the inside into the Hairpin and the pair continued to trade blows, but the JG Speedfit Kawasaki rider crossed the line to claim the win.

Mossey held off Hopkins to take third, becoming the tenth different rider to claim a podium finish this season with Peter Hickman closing on the leading quartet to score fifth position from Richard Cooper on the Buildbase BMW.

Race Two saw conditions completely change and Be Wiser Ducati’s Byrne bounced back from his crash in the opening race to claim victory, scything his way through the pack before an intense scrap at the front.

Linfoot had initially hit the front ahead of Hopkins, but the positions rapidly changed as Hickman and Haslam moved ahead of the American.

Hickman was hounding Linfoot and the JG Speedfit Kawasaki rider pulled a move at the Hairpin to take the lead. However, Linfoot instantly responded, repaying the move to head back into the lead.

As Linfoot and Hickman diced at the front, race one winner Haslam and Byrne had moved into third and fourth respectively and soon the ‘Pocket Rocket’ was trading blows with his team-mate ahead of him. Haslam finally moved ahead of Hickman at the Hairpin with Byrne following him.

Byrne then pulled a pass on championship leader Haslam, moving into second before both Byrne and Haslam took advantage of a mistake by Linfoot when he ran wide, pushing the Honda Racing rider back into third.

Haslam then claimed the lead from Byrne and the leading two riders in the standings then diced intensely for the advantage. Linfoot wasn’t done though, and he moved back to the front of the trio with a move on the 25th lap. However, just one lap later Byrne was back ahead.

Four-time champion Shakey then wasn’t giving an inch and he edged away as the battle for the final podium positions intensified. Linfoot stayed ahead of Haslam, but in the final three laps a hard-charging Ellison continued to move up the order, passing Haslam and then mugging Linfoot for second place at the line.

Hickman surged ahead to fourth in the closing laps ahead of O’Halloran and Haslam who dropped to sixth after suffering with visor problems. Richard Cooper continued his run of strong point scoring finishes in seventh ahead of Tommy Bridewell turned his weekend around to score an eighth place for Bennetts Suzuki.

Howie Mainwaring and Christian Iddon completed the top ten, but it was disappointment for John Hopkins and Glenn Irwin who both crashed out unhurt.

Race One winner Haslam was bullish after the weekend, claiming he could have had a brace of wins bar the visor incident. He said: “We’ve extended the Championship lead over this weekend, but for me it should have been a very easy second win. With ten to 12 laps to go I couldn’t see anything, and I dropped nearly three to four seconds a lap at the end, it wasn’t anything to do with the bike it was purely because I couldn’t see.

“I felt good, I felt the pace I had at the front I could have gone quicker at any point but I just couldn’t see. I’m feeling pretty confident heading into Snetterton, I have a test in between in Japan but we will take the positives from this weekend.”

Race Two winner Byrne relished crossing the line first in challenging conditions. He Said: “It was a difficult second race to be honest. Before we started one of my mechanics said to me it is a long race and you are starting from the fourth row, there are a lot of chances for things to go wrong!

“I got to second quite quickly, then I got in the lead and then Leon passed me. I followed him for a bit and I felt quite happy there, then Dan Linfoot passed me and I thought ‘this isn’t in the plan, I don’t want to go backwards!’

“I got to the front, I had a few little issues to deal with and made a few mistakes and with all the work that I gave the Be Wiser Ducati team this weekend they deserved that win. I had two crashes this weekend and that isn’t like me, so thanks to them – it is onwards and upwards now!”

WSBK – Rea does proper Italian job on Sykes

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The second race at Misano saw reigning world champion Jonathan Rea put in another dominant stint to claim the double win.

The current series leader got off the line well, beating team-mate Tom Sykes at the start,. However, Sykes regrouped quickly and  sensationally retook the lead just seconds later with an audacious move around the outside of Rea.

The first lap also saw a massive high side for German Markus Reiterberger, who was launched high into the air after his bike tangled with the Ducati of Chaz Davies in Turn Eight. He landed hard, but luckily was up walking moments later.

The drama continued to unfold on lap Three, when Davies fell at Turn 14, taking out Honda’s Michael van der Mark, who had been behind him. Fortunately both riders were able to remount and rejoin the race.

Rea began hunting down race leader Sykes from lap Eight, with the gap closing to just two tenths of a second, with the squabbling pair a comfortable two seconds ahead of Ducati’s Davide Giugliano in third.

The turning point came in the 17th lap whenRea made his decisive attack on Sykes, becoming the new race leader, building a cushion and easing out a comfortable lead. The order would remain the same until the chequered flag, where Italian Davide Giugliano finished behind the Kawasaki riders for an excellent third place.

Race 2 standings:

1) Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team)

2) Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team)

3) Davide Giugliano (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati)

4) Xavi Forés (Barni Racing Team)

5) Lorenzo Savadori (IodaRacing Team)

6) Nicky Hayden (Honda World Superbike Team)

7) Jordi Torres (Althea BMW Racing Team)

8) Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team)

9) Niccolò Canepa (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team)

10) Michael van der Mark (Honda World Superbike Team)

WSBK – Kawasaki duo dominate Race One at Misano

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The Kawasaki pair of Jonny Rea and Tom Sykes dominated Race One at Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli , maintaining  an impressive pace throughout the race, creating a gap behind them to bring home the sixth one-two victory of the season for Team Green.

Race One was dominated from start to end by Jonathan Rea who, starting from the second spot on the grid, overtook team-mate  and poleman Tom Sykes when the lights went out, staying in the lead all the way to the chequered flag.

It was an incident-packed opening couple of laps with Aprilia’s Lorenzo Savadori forced to retire on the first lap after a crash, and Davide Giugliano and Nicky Hayden who both crashed out during the second lap.

In the meantime, Rea and Sykes created a gap behind them, igniting an exciting duel which had the two of them battling for the lead within less than two tenths of one another.

In the penultimate lap, the race lost another protagonist, Xavi Forés, who had started from the third spot on the grid, but all eyes were on the Kawasakis ridden by Rea and Sykes, who put on a heart-stopping show for the finale. The English rider refused to settle for second place and pulled out all the stops trying to overtake his teammate, but Rea held tough to the end, managing to cross the wire first, albeit less than a tenth of a second ahead of Sykes.

Behind them, three seconds later, Honda’s Michael van der Mark crossed the wire for the bottom step of the podium.

Race One standings:

1) Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team)

2) Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team)

3) Michael van der Mark (Honda World Superbike Team)

4) Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati)

5) Jordi Torres (Althea BMW Racing Team)

6) Markus Reiterberger (Althea BMW Racing Team)

7) Niccolò Canepa (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team)

8) Leon Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse)

9) Román Ramos (Team GoEleven)

10) Anthony West (Pedercini Racing)

BSB – Pocket Rocket snatches pole in dramatic qualifying at Oulton

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Leon Haslam will start from pole position for tomorrow’s opening BSB race at Oulton Park after snatching pole position on the JG Speedfit Kawasaki, just ahead of his team-mate James Ellison.

In a dramatic qualifying Haslam kept his cool in a hectic wet Superpole; with five different riders holding the top spot during the eight minute battle for the pole position. Initially Alastair Seeley had set the first flying lap on the RAF Reserves BMW, but before long Christian Iddon had gained the top spot on the Tyco BMW.

Ellison was relishing the wet conditions and recorded the fastest time in the final minutes, but it was short lived as Honda Racing’s Jason O’Halloran then carved his way to the top. Ellison instantly responded and he returned to the top with his next flying lap. However, Haslam wasn’t and in the final minute the Derbyshire rider stole the pole position.

Dan Linfoot will head the second row of the race one grid for the Honda Racing team after he climbed ahead of Iddon in the closing stages of the session, with the Tyco BMW pairing completing the second row with Michael Laverty.

Seeley will start from the third row ahead of Team WD-40 Kawasaki’s Jack Kennedy who had his best qualifying performance of the season so far in eighth with Lee Jackson completing the top nine.

It was a difficult session for Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne; the four-time champion will start 18th on the grid after a tough Q2; the Be Wiser Ducati rider had a moment through the gravel at Lodge at the mid-way point of the second stage before crashing out unhurt a lap later at Hizzys.

It was also a tough session for the second Be Wiser Ducati; Glenn Irwin suffered a clutch problem on his first lap and was forced to miss the remainder qualifying; he will start on the back row of the grid.

Danny Buchan was also left disappointed after he was ruled out on medical grounds for the remainder of the weekend after suffering concussion in a crash at Knickerbrook during Q1.

MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship, Oulton Park, Datatag Qualifying:

1 Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) 1m:43.633s

2 James Ellison (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) +0.452s

3 Jason O’Halloran (Honda Racing) +0.520s

4 Dan Linfoot (Honda Racing) +0.553s

5 Christian Iddon (Tyco BMW) +0.637s

6 Michael Laverty (Tyco BMW) +0.870s

7 Alastair Seeley (Royal Air Force BMW) +0.926s

8 Jack Kennedy (Team WD-40 Kawasaki) +1.425s

9 Lee Jackson (Buildbase BMW) +1.599s

For more information visit www.britishsuperbike.com

Racing – Haslam to ride for ‘Team Green’ at Suzuka 8 Hour

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Two time Suzuka 8 Hour winner Leon Haslam will be spearheading Kawasaki’s assault on the prestigious title, joining Akira Yanagawa and Kazuki Watanabe to form a formidable line-up in Kawasaki’s Official ‘Team Green’ World Endurance line-up for the historic race.

Haslam will take a break from fighting for the BSB title to travel to Japan for the race in July (Friday 29th – Sunday 31st) and will take part in three official tests in Japan leading up to the race aboard the Ninja ZX-10R.

Haslam, who won the iconic race in both 2013 and 2014, is delighted to be competing again this year, and said: “I’m very pleased to have been selected to race in the three-man Kawasaki team and I’m really looking forward to the race and going back to Suzuka.

“I’ve been comfortable on the ZX-10R since I started testing for the BSB season on it and I will have raced on it at six British Superbike rounds by the time Suzuka arrives so I’ll have had plenty of time aboard the machine.”

After seven consecutive years in WSBK for Honda, BMW and Aprilia, Haslam has returned to the British Superbike Championship to ride for Kawasaki UK’s Official British Superbike team, JG Speedfit Kawasaki.

Ross Burridge, Kawasaki UK senior racing and marketing co-ordinator, said: “It is great to see a call up from the Official Kawasaki Suzuka team for one of our British Superbike riders, it shows the pedigree of racing we currently have in the UK domestic series. After the recent success for Leon at this race, it makes perfect sense for him to try and achieve a hat-trick of wins. I, along with everyone else at Kawasaki Motors UK, wish him the best of luck.”

The first Suzuka 8 Hour race ran in July 1978; this year celebrates the 39th 8 Hour event.