The JG Speedfit Kawasaki team might have left Assen champagne in hand after Haslam’s double victory, but questions surrounding their future in the British series spread through the paddock like wildfire this weekend.
Whispers that team boss Mark Smith-Halvorsen has opted to call it a day at the end of the season refused to die down at Assen and the former racer has confirmed to MCN that nothing is in anyway certain for 2017, with further sources claiming team staff have been warned to look for jobs elsewhere.
“There are two things I can tell you that we’ve decided for next year and the first is that we will not be running a roads programme,” Smith-Halvorsen told MCN at the weekend. “The people who need to know that have been told and that decision is final.
“Secondly, if we run next year we will run a two rider British Superbike team rather than the three we have done this year. We are currently in negotiations with sponsors, but when it comes to riders and exactly what we’re doing we are still not sure. We have the following couple of weeks and some more meetings at Brands Hatch to decide our future.”
This lack of certainty at a relatively late stage in the season leaves Haslam’s future in the balance for 2017. Keen to stay with Kawasaki and the team next year, the title challenger is thought to be holding out for a deal but should the delay extend much further he will be forced to look elsewhere.
MCN understands a switch to BMW with the Tyco team could be on the cards should Haslam’s Kawasaki future not materialise soon. With Haslam such a key player in the paddock, further movements on the rider market could be forced to wait for GBmoto’s future to become clear.
“Ideally, I would like to stay where I am,” Haslam told MCN. “The ZX-10R is a great bike and I believe it has so much more potential if we can have a decent winter testing programme.
“I’ve built a really strong relationship with Kawasaki through not just BSB but the testing I’ve done in Japan and racing at Suzuka. It’s probably the closest relationship I’ve had with a factory in a lot of years and I would like it to continue.
“However, as of yet we haven’t decided or signed anything. If I can’t stay where I am I do have a number of good options on the table.”
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