Leon Haslam left Donington Park this weekend rueing a costly mistake which saw him crash out of Sunday’s second race to give rival Shane Byrne a 27-point lead after the opening round of the MCE British Superbike Showdown.
A significant rise in temperature for Sunday’s two races saw Haslam struggle with his preferred harder option Pirelli rear tyre, handing Byrne two race victories as the title fight got underway.
The crash marked the former WSB race winner’s first major mistake in a race so far this year and it couldn’t have come at a worse time for Haslam, who took the series lead with three dominant victories last time out at Oulton Park.
A rookie to BSB’s Showdown system, Haslam admitted to MCN after the race that he should have settled for second to head to Assen just seven points behind Byrne in the title chase.
“We were up against it today,” said a red-faced Haslam. “We knew the softer tyre wouldn’t last for us and the harder option just didn’t have the grip in the heat. I’m pleased with the pace we ran in the early stages but it was only a matter of time until things turned against us in that race.
“When Shakey came past I pushed too hard. It was my mistake, I should have settled for second and rolled on to Assen with just a few points between us. Now, because I made that one mistake he’s now got a 27 point lead and we’ve got a lot of work to do if we’re going to beat him to the title.”
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