Haslam back in the ballpark with Honda

Monday, 25 March 2013 15:44 GMT
Haslam back in the ballpark with Honda
The return of Leon Haslam to Honda showed already at Phillip Island some clues on the full potential he can deliver for the rest of 2013 season. The English rider has looked comfortable and fast onboard the CBR1000RR, battling among the front runners in Race 1 before a traction control problem forced him to race defensively up to the chequered flag. As Honda is focussing his efforts on trying to sort out the brand new electronics for the next round, the Pata Honda World Superbike rider underwent another surgical operation and he's now looking forward to test at Aragon on April 2-4 before WSBK hits the Spanish venue ten days later.

At some point in Phillip Island Race 1 it looked like you were going to get on the podium, then what happened? What do you think of the weekend overall, despite the results?

"I was happy of the progress we made, it could have been a 3rd place in both races, definitely a 4th with the pace we had. In Race 1 e had a problem with the traction control, it basically went into safety mode halfway through the race, it's something we knew there was a problem with and the guys are resolving it. I'm confident it'll be fine for the next race. It was a brand new software, brand new electronics and we had a lot done during the test and the race weekend. At one point during the race I got up to 2nd place after passing most of the guys. I was quite happy but very disappointed for the results we got. Race 2 was just misfortune getting caught in Chaz' crash."

You had a surgical operation a couple of weeks ago, what was it about?

"I got one nerve removed an one repaired from when I broke my leg last year in Australia. One of the nerves was trapped in the hole that was there when the screw was removed, one of the other nerve was damaged with the removal of the screw. It's something that's been injuring me since Christmas, I had a lot of pain through it. The strength and everything have been there, it's just been quite frustrating because I wasn't able to train like I wanted to. I just wait for the scar to stick together and once it happens it'll be back to normal."

Despite the traction control issue and the misfortune of Race 2, it looked like you felt very comfortable on the bike already. What's made the difference?

"The bike allows you to be aggressive and to ride hard. A very strong point of the Honda is that it's a consistent bike, it's not so sensitive. This was one of the major problems I found on the BMW, as it was quite sensitive for temperature and tyre changes. Sometimes it hindered you during the race where Honda is almost the opposite, it works in pretty much all conditions and allows you to ride it really hard. Of course, there are some areas we need to improve."

You have two test planned before the next round, the first at Aragon on April 2-4 and the second one at Alcarras on April 7-8, correct?

"Yes, we got three days testing at the track we're racing, we have a lot of new upgrades we've kind of been waiting for. The team have been working very hard at the workshop during the break so I can't wait to try this new stuff out."