Haslam collided with teammate Razgatlioglu on the penultimate turn, with the Turkish rider crashing out
If watching your two riders collide together on the final lap doesn’t rank as a team manager’s worst nightmare, it must be right up there. On the final lap of Race 1 at Donington Park, two turns away from the checkered flag, Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) and Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) came together, with the Turkish rider crashing out. A desolate ending to what had been a fantastic performance by both men, able to keep up with the pace of a serial race-winner like Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati).
Haslam came out of the incident with a bit more luck, able to stay on his bike, but having to surrender the battle for eighth to Davies. Yet he managed to keep his composure, and make it to the end with a ninth-place finish in front of his home crowd. Still, it was not the scenario the Brit had hoped for at his home race, the same one he scored a second-place finish in just last year.
How did Haslam see the dramatic late incident from his position? “Toprak missed the chicane, I think he was letting me through, but then as I ran through we kind of clashed. Really disappointed that he didn’t finish, it would have been nice for both of us to be up there, but that’s racing. Hopefully we can both have a strong race tomorrow”.
There were many positives from his Saturday performance, however. “Our mid-race pace was similar to the podium riders”, he says. “I’m learning the full electronics, my team is learning the full electronics, it’s the first time using these”.
“I know the circuit, so I’ve got that advantage” – he admits – “but getting the bike set up and working as I want… We obviously missed a little bit of time there against the regulars in WorldSBK. Everyone was on a fast pace, and hopefully we can make those steps to be where we want to be”.
How will the Kawasaki Puccetti riders climb back tomorrow? Catch the Sunday race from 13:00 local time (12:00) thanks to the WorldSBK VideoPass.