Haslam's Ricard crashes

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Haslam was also impressed by the track itself:

"Because the track is used for F1 car testing there’s no gravel traps. All the run-off is Tarmac so each time I crashed I slid 100s of yards – or at least that’s what it felt like.

"The only bad point was the white lines edging the track – they’re a bit slippery.

"We didn’t use the full GP circuit because we were wet-weather testing. The course we used was lined with sprinklers so even though we had gorgeous sunshine on one day of the test, the track was wet.

"And it ranged from absolutely soaking wet to wet patches as it dried out so we were able to test in a variety of controlled conditions. After each 20-minute session the sprinklers were turned back on again for 10 minutes."

For this test Airwaves Ducati used their F06 Ducati 999s in the same guise as they finished the 2006 season but are expecting uprated suspension, electronics and transmission parts before the 2007 starts.

Haslam said: "I’m pretty confident with what I’ve got already and the bike is only going to get better."

Guintoli crashed and broke his collarbone while French Endurance duo Julien da Costa and Matthieu Lagrive also tipped off.

Leon Haslam crashed only four times in an entire season of BSB but managed to crash four times in two days last week during testing at the Paul Ricard circuit in Southern France.

The BSB series runner-up was wet weather testing a range of Dunlop tyres with team-mate Gregorio Lavilla who also survived a big highside unscathed.

But despite the spills, Haslam remained upbeat. "I’m feeling a bit bruised and battered - pretty crap really.

"Most crashes were little slip-offs but, like Greg, I had one big highside - big enough to feel like I’ve earned my pilot’s licence. But otherwise it was a really good test. Dunlop are pushing really hard and we’re already better off with the wets than we were last year.

"I was three seconds quicker than Silvian Guintoli on the MotoGP Tech 3 Yamaha, over a second quicker than Greg and we learned a lot about the latest Dunlops wets."

It was Haslam’s first visit to the former GP and World Endurance venue that is now used solely for testing.

"The facilities at Ricard are unbelievable,” he said. "The garages alone are impressive enough. They’re double the size of those at Silverstone (the best in BSB) and have an office at the back, equipped with eight TV screens so the technicians can watch you the entire way around the course.

"The timing system gives you splits in each section too. And we didn’t share that, Greg had exactly the same on his side of the garage!"

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MCN Staff

By MCN Staff