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Haslam tries factory R7 but signs to return to GP 250s

Published: 16 December 2001

Leon Haslam has tested the factory Virgin Yamaha R7 British superbike but he is still going to sign his world 250 championship contract.

Haslam will link up with fellow British rider Jason Vincent in the Barcelona-based BQR team once he’s managed to sort out mechanics. But before his GP future was secured he did seriously consider British superbikes as an alternative.

That’s why Virgin Yamaha boss Rob McElnea offered him a brief outing on one of James Haydon’s R7s at Donington Park.

Haslam only completed around 20 laps in damp conditions but was impressed by his first go on all-out works four-stroke race bike.

He said: " I enjoyed it although the conditions really prevented me pushing it too much. It wasn’t a massive culture shock jumping on a big superbike because I’ve ridden FireBlades at my dad’s race school. But my heart is in GPs and I’ve made no secret of the fact that I wanted to stay in the world championship. "

WSB organisers were understood to want him to consider Carl Fogarty’s new Petronas squad but he never actually held formal talks with the four-times WSB champion.


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