BSB: Hard tyre gamble pays off for Haslam at Oulton
Leon Haslam’s victory in this afternoon’s opening MCE British Superbike race at Oulton Park further ignited his championship battle as he closed in to be just three points and seven podium credits behind rival Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne.
The only rider on the grid to choose the harder option rear tyre, Haslam had the pace from the off as he went on to set the fastest lap in the early stages before taking the lead from team-mate James Ellison at the half way point. From then on the former WSB race winner was able to manage his lead to cross the line to take his fifth victory of the year.
“The pace stayed consistent which is what we knew the hard tyre would give us, I wasn’t sure how fast we could be at the beginning but we got the fastest lap of the race so it wasn’t too bad!” Haslam told MCN after the race.
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“It [the harder tyre] did lack in some areas, there were three or four corners where both James and Shakey were pulling quite a bit on me but the consistency on entry and other areas stayed the same so that was the priority as it allowed me to run my race.”
Despite the strong victory, Haslam was sure not to rest on his laurels and began a lengthy debrief with his team immediately after the race in search of further stability for Sunday’s two encounters.
“There are still a few areas I want to improve with the bike but for me it was good, I was there where I wanted to be after eight or nine laps and that allowed me to attack and make a gap right at the end.
“We’re only three points behind Shakey in the championship now and seven in the podium credits and we’ve got another two races so if we have another double tomorrow it puts us in a good position ahead of the showdown."