Kawasaki announces Leon Haslam departure

Kawasaki to end its partnership with Leon Haslam at the end of the 2019 World Superbike championship, with Alex Lowes now expected to take his spot

Leon Haslam - Kawasaki Racing Team

Kawasaki has confirmed it will cut ties with Leon Haslam at the end of this World Superbike campaign, while Alex Lowes is rumoured to replace the British rider.

After winning the 2018 BSB title with Kawasaki, Haslam made his dream return to World Superbikes with the factory Kawasaki squad replaceing Tom Sykes alongside Jonathan Rea.

But after just one year Haslam will leave KRT having struggled to match the results of his team-mate, who clinched a fifth consecutive world title at the last round at Magny-Cours, while Haslam is currently in sixth place in the riders’ standings.

Haslam was also part of the Suzuka 8 Hour-winning squad with Kawasaki this season, securing the Japanese manufacturers’ first win at the iconic endurance event for 25 years.

“KRT and KHI welcomed Leon into the team after a nine-year period with Tom Sykes. It was an ideal chance for him to regain experience inside the WorldSBK paddock and an incentive after winning the British Superbike title plus previous success at the Suzuka 8 Hours,” KRT Team Manager, Guim Roda, said.

“A primary target for 2019 was for Leon to experience the KRT way of working and to take his race rhythm and performance to a new level with goals like competing at Suzuka as a tempting prospect.

“Winning the 2019 8 Hours race with Jonathan Rea after a 25-year gap for Kawasaki was certainly an incredible achievement alongside regular top five placings in WorldSBK including several podium visits.

“To achieve all of this despite being away from WorldSBK for three years is testament to Leon’s skill as a rider – especially as he has endured injuries this year, many of which have not been apparent and have certainly not hindered his hunger for success.

“It is my hope that Leon can stay within the Kawasaki family for 2020 and use his KRT experience on factory Ninja machinery to achieve yet more success as well as competing again at the Suzuka 8-Hours. Everyone at KRT wishes Leon well for the future.”

Haslam has been linked to the Puccetti Kawasaki squad for 2020 while he also hasn’t ruled out the option of returning to BSB.

Alex Lowes, who recently split with Yamaha, is set to take Haslam’s spot at the KRT team next to Rea for 2020.