Leon Haslam completes factory Honda line-up for 2020

Tuesday, 5 November 2019 09:28 GMT

Back with the manufacturer that he’s had so much success with through his career, Leon Haslam is ready to fight hard with a new challenge on the horizon.

Returning to the 2019 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship this season, Leon Haslam will have a whole new challenge in 2020 as he joins the much-anticipated factory Honda team, supported by HRC. The British rider has an illustrious and distinguished career with the Japanese manufacturer and will return to the official line-up for next season, alongside Spanish sensation and 2019 Championship runner-up, Alvaro Bautista.

Starting back in 2003, Haslam has been one of the most prominent features in the World Superbike paddock. A permanent switch to WorldSBK came in 2004, where he took a first career podium at Oschersleben, finishing eighth in the Championship. Haslam took three seasons out before taking a third place at Portimao in the final race of 2008 for HM Plant Honda; enough to convince the Stiggy Racing Team to sign him up for 2009. Four podiums helped him to finish sixth overall.

2010 would be Haslam’s greatest season and he switched from Honda to Suzuki, storming to victory in the season-opening Phillip Island race by just 0.004s to make the closest finish of a WorldSBK race in history. He led the Championship and took two more wins before finishing as Championship runner-up, with only four-time 250cc World Champion Max Biaggi ahead of him. 2011 and 2012 saw him with BMW and he took regular podiums before moving to Honda for 2013.

2013 would be a season blighted by injury, but Haslam had strong rides nonetheless, building on these for 2014, taking a podium in France and finishing seventh overall. 2015 saw him with Aprilia and two more wins came by on his way to fourth overall. Six more starts for Kawasaki over the next two seasons as wildcard would keep Haslam in the paddock, before coming back full-time this year, taking six podiums.

Speaking about the deal, the ‘Pocket Rocket’ is delighted to be a part of the factory Honda team once again: “I am excited about the possibility of joining the HRC project and the new bike as well. It is a dream come true and I just can’t wait to get out there and get on the bike. From my side, just the thought of HRC coming back into the paddock was intriguing by itself, there was a lot of secrecy about what it was and what the bike was.”

“For me, to have the opportunity and to be involved with it is definitely something that I was aiming for. The aim is always to win; Honda and HRC have not come here to finish second, that is for sure. Obviously, it is a new bike and a new team to the Championship, so testing is going to be very important. I’m pretty confident we can hit the ground running and Phillip Island is one of my favourite tracks where we kick off in February, so it is not long to wait.”

Keep up-to-date with everything Haslam and Honda related, and more with the WorldSBK VideoPass!