Despite having to wait until the vast majority of his WSB rivals had signed contracts for 2015, Leon Haslam is arguably the big winner having inherited the 2014 championship-winning Aprilia RSV4.
“I have always had a lot of options for 2015,” confirmed Haslam.” The hardest thing is getting the whole package. I have been a very well paid rider for a lot of years and I have always had very good opportunities as far as contracts go, so it seems to be that the contract fees have reduced over this last year or two and the manufacturers are not involved as much."
"BMW has left and a lot of people are pulling out but for me it was always going to be reducing money to get on something competitive, or take on a development ride programme with a manufacturer. The other option was always Britain, to develop a bike to come back to worlds the year after. There were always options there, but nothing clear-cut.”
Haslam, understandably, wished to stay in the paddock he has called home since 2009, and claims he always knew which bike he wanted for next year. “I always wanted to be on the Aprilia but the question was were they going to be in the championship? Were they going to homologate the bike? I have been one of these riders who has always been signed up by September so to go to the last race of the year still not signed up was tough on everyone. I knew there were options there but I did not want to mess people around either. So to get it all sorted and to get the ride I have wanted for a long time is really exciting. The signature was done at the Milan show and it has all come together. We spoke a lot directly with Red Devils even before Aprilia told Red Devils that they were going to continue, and then from Magny Cours onwards Aprilia made their mind up they were going to continue. It is exciting to go into team with a bike that had just won the world championship and a team that is super-excited to have taken over the project. The enthusiasm is a very high level for everyone.”
Haslam should have no shortage of track time before he heads to Australia for the official Dorna tests at Phillip Island and then the first round of the year on Sunday 22nd February. “My first test is at Jerez on the 24th, with everyone else, basically.
Then at Aragon and Jerez again in January, so that is six days and a possible eight, depending on how the weather treats us and how the tests go.”