Leon Haslam is confident of returning to the top step of the podium as the third round of the 2017 MCE British Superbike Championship gets underway at Oulton Park this weekend after lapping under the lap record at last week’s official test.
Beaten by younger team-mate Luke Mossey in both races at Brands Hatch two weeks ago, Haslam is determined to fight back at a circuit at which he took a hat-trick of wins when the series last visited last September.
“To be honest, Brands was a bit shit for us,” Haslam told MCN. “We just couldn’t get the right set-up during the weekend but because I seemed quick and competitive we didn’t realise just how much grip we lacked over distance compared to others.
“To go to Oulton and lap underneath the lap record shows that Brands was just a blip, we put our base setting in from the end of last year and it worked straight away and felt like it did at Donington. Brands is a tricky circuit, unique for both set-up and style so considering we had quite a few problems in the races I was happy to take a second and third, but this weekend we need to return to the top!
Despite title rival Shane Byrne’s disastrous start to the season, which has only seen the Ducati man finish one of the four races so far this year, Haslam remains convinced the reigning champion is still his biggest threat.
“I stand by Shakey being our main rival,” he explains. “To be fair, I think he should have won both races at Brands. He had a bad start in race one and then slipped off in race two but you could see the potential he had – he was comfortable and quick.
“There’s no doubt he’ll come strong and challenge for wins soon, but I’ll concentrate on myself and trying to keep our head down.”
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