After missing out on the 2017 crown in such disastrous circumstances, Leon Haslam says he’s more fired up than ever before ahead of the 2018 Bennetts British Superbike Championship getting underway at Donington Park.
The JG Speedfit Kawasaki star went into last year’s final round 32-points ahead of his rivals but left third in the championship after a tough weekend that culminated in him sustaining a broken ankle after brake failure on his ZX-10RR.
However, after a solid winter testing programme Haslam feels he’s in an even stronger position for a title attack this year.
“I’m proper fired up for this year after the last two years,” he told MCN. “Of course, I was always fired up, but more so than ever now… In 2016, I scored more points than anyone and didn’t win the title and last year we went into the final round with a 32-point lead and I didn’t do much wrong myself.
“I can’t be too displeased with our results in the last few years, but at the same time I still haven’t won a championship.”
Despite feeling his Kawasaki is in a much better position than it was this time last year, Haslam believes the competition will be tougher this time around and has his eyes firmly set on one man, but it’s not reigning and six time champion Shane Byrne…
“It’s never easy in BSB and it’s going to be the same this year with even more bikes at the front as Honda seem to have massively upped their game and Christian [Iddon] seems on point with the BMW.
“Shakey is always going to be competitive, but in my opinion Josh [Brookes] poses the biggest threat this year as he’s on a much better package than he was last season. He had a great season on a bike that maybe wasn’t as competitive, so with a better bike he’ll be up there most weekends I’m sure.”
For an extensive 2018 Bennetts British Superbike Championship season preview, including exclusive interviews, tech features and the Bennetts BSB grid predicting their 2018 #ShowdownSix, pick up this week's MCN.