WSB: Haslam in line to join Rea in factory Kawasaki squad

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Leon Haslam has said riding alongside Jonathan Rea in the factory Kawasaki World Superbike team is an offer he’d be ‘mad not to consider’ as rumours about his future gather momentum.

The British Superbike championship leader is understood to be in talks with Kawasaki bosses about a return to the world stage that would see him replace Tom Sykes in the factory squad alongside multiple champion Rea.

When questioned by MCN, Kawasaki team boss Guim Roda did not deny talks have taken place with the former WorldSBK runner-up and while Haslam insists nothing has been signed at present, sources suggest the deal is close to being done.

“I’m employed by Kawasaki so what they want to do with me and my future is up to them,” Haslam explained. “I’m really happy with what I’ve been doing with Kawasaki in the British Championship and I’ve been doing a lot of other stuff like testing in Japan, Suzuka and a few World Superbike rounds.

“Yes, they have shown an interest but nothing is signed or confirmed at the minute. Riding for KRT in World Superbikes would be a dream, so I’d be mad not to consider an offer from them.

“Hopefully we’ll know more in the next few weeks, nothing is confirmed at Ducati or Yamaha yet either and there are a few guys looking to come back from MotoGP so it’s all up in the air.

“Right now my focus is on winning the British Superbike Championship for Kawasaki and we’re in a really good position at the minute.”

Haslam made his full-time World Superbike debut with Renegade Ducati in 2003, finishing eighth overall before returning to Britain. He next returned to the World Stage in 2009 where he remained until 2015, amassing five victories and 39 podium finishes as well as a best overall result of second in 2010.

Haslam wouldn’t be a new team-mate for three-time World Champion Jonathan Rea with the duo having ridden together at PATA Honda in 2013/2014.

Where Haslam’s move leaves the departed Tom Sykes remains unclear. The 2013 World Champion is understood to have an option in the GRT Yamaha squad should they step up from World Supersport while a return to British Superbikes is also not off the cards for the Yorkshireman.  

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Oli Rushby

By Oli Rushby

Former sports reporter covering British Superbikes, World Superbikes and road racing