Lack of Suzuki factory support forces decision
LEON HASLAM has signed a deal to race BMW's fast-improving S1000RR for the 2011 WSBK season.
The annoucement comes just hours after the Derbyshire rider's release from his contract with Alstare Suzuki at this weekend's Imola race.
A lack of Suzuki factory support for the Alstare team has clearly frustrated Haslam; the British ace exercised a get-out clause on the basis of the manufacturer's questionable committment to development.
Leon Haslam: "I've watched the progress of the BMW S1000RR in the past two seasons and the almost constant improvement of the machine has been very impressive. I'm very much looking forward to riding the machine and experiencing for myself what I've been watching. The team has shown the potential to win and the team has the factory support required so I'm hopeful that I can add the extra little bit that is needed to win. I'm really grateful to BMW for showing such faith in me and patience during difficult times and we're looking forward together now for a successful 2011."
Haslam replaces Ruebens Xaus at BMW, partnering Troy Corser in the new-look squad.
James Toseland, who was also linked to the BMW ride, is now widely believed to be in advanced discussions with his former employers, the Ten Kate Honda team.
As some sort of PS: just got off the phone to Chris Herring, Leon's manager.
He was at pains to point out what a gentleman Alstare team manager Francis Batta has been over Leon's predicament. Seems Francis has always had Leon's best interests at heart and was bitterly disappointed that he couldn't offer him a package for 2011 that would keep his services for the rest of the inked two-year deal.
As Chris said, 'there are plenty of team managers in the paddock who wouldn't release their rider early with their rider's careers at the forefront of their minds.'
That said, the Suzuki GSX-R1000 is still a potent package at this level of racing and it'll be interesting to see who signs up to ride the lone Alstare bike for 2011.
Posted: 28/09/2010 at 19:34
Posted: 28/09/2010 at 23:34
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