Leon Haslam was the top Brit at Assen

Leon Haslam was the top Brit at Assen

 

WSB Assen Blog: World Class Brits

By Michael Guy -

World Superbikes

 29 April 2009 09:29

What a weekend for the Brits. After the opening three rounds I was starting to wonder if our boys could really be a match for the best WSB men in the world, but after this weekend I’ve got my answer.

Haslam’s double podium was seriously impressive and whether you are a Haslam or a Spies fan I defy any not to have been shouting at the TV when the two men went bar to bar at the end of race one.

OK Leon did lose out and he had no answer for Haga in race two, but this is early days for his bike and team and with these results under his belt he’s only going to get stronger.

I’ve listened to BSB pundits continually put down Haslam because he’s never won a BSB title despite being a factory Ducati or Honda rider.

His consistency and focus have been questioned in BSB, but from what I’ve seen since he arrived in WSB has been nothing short of stunning.

On paper he started out as one of the least favoured Brits in terms of team experience and spec of the bike, but the Stiggy Honda team is testament to just what can be achieved when the right people get their hands on right equipment and you have a rider that is deadly serious about making his mark on the world scene.

The good thing is that it’s not just Haslam.

Tom Sykes has conducted the majority of his WSB season under the shadow of team-mate Ben Spies, but a closer look at his results shows that he is simply a podium and race win waiting to happen.

It was also nice to see Jonathan Rea with a smile on his face for the first time in three rounds.

The Ten Kate Honda man takes his racing seriously and when the results don’t come he has the habit of beating himself up.

It shows he cares and it shows just how much he wants it. The Assen weekend saw him take fifth in race two on a bike that he is finally enjoying to ride.

Like Sykes he’s not far away from a big result and when it happens there’s going to be fireworks.

Now it’s time for Shakey to step up to the mark and show us what he can really do.

As BSB champion expectations are high, but it’s fair to say that his season so far has not gone to plan.

In race two he wasn’t far away, but I know he’s incredibly frustrated by his lack of pace.

It seems that he needs one decent ride to kick start his year, I just hope it comes soon before the confidence starts to waiver.

Hill is another rider that is pushing hard with little reward. I genuinely believe that he is riding the bike to it’s limit and he’s riding well for the points he is getting.

He’s battling with the likes of Ruben Xaus and Shinya Nakano, but with the equipment he has it’s going to be tough to break into the top ten.

As for Supersport what can you say. Two riders, three wins and first and second in the championship standings.

Both Laverty and Crutchlow have been a revelation and right now its hard to see how anyone will stop them and that includes seven time world champions Ten Kate Honda.

And one last shout out has to go to Superstock 600 man Gino Rea.

In a race dominated by Yamaha’s Rea fought so hard to hang onto every position he could and by staying on track eventually ended up winning the race while his hot headed competitors threw it down the road.

He now leads the standings by 11 points – fair play Gino.