Leon Haslam will take on the challenge of the Suzuka 8-Hour race again in 2016, adding a works ride for the official Japanese Team Green squad to his full-time duties with the JG Speedfit Kawasaki team in the BSB Championship.
Leon will ride the official new Ninja ZX-10R bike in WEC spec alongside Kawasaki legend Akira Yanagawa and Kazuki Watanabe. He will complete testing duties at both Suzuka and Kawasaki’s own test track, Autopolis, in readiness for the iconic race meeting that takes place on 31st July – sandwiched between the Thruxton and Brands Hatch BSB weekends.
Haslam, a recent two-time Suzuka 8-Hour race winner with Honda, missed out on the event last year as he was an official Aprilia World SBK rider but is keen to get back to Suzuka to keep his international career on track.
“It is a case of me wanting to do it - and first you have to be invited,” said Haslam as he underlined his personal desire to race at Suzuka again. "After that you negotiate a deal so that everyone’s happy but at the same time for me, if I am doing the British championship and I win it, I want to do more than that. I want to do the 8-Hour, do some wild cards to show that winning in WSBK in Doha I can continue that into this year.”
Haslam appears as keen as a newcomer on the racing scene in 2016. “I do not want this to be about one championship, I want to ride as much as I can, at whatever level. WorldSBK, World Endurance, 8-Hour, BSB. I love riding bikes, at the end of the day, and to be invited to do the 8-Hour by the manufacturer that you are riding for? I will go and test over there 20 times if they want me to. For me it is not really a burden. I like riding bikes so I want to do it. My first test is in April, at the Autopolis track.”