What next for Leon Haslam as Honda WorldSBK bids him farewell?

Leon Haslam is left to consider his racing options after being dropped from the HRC Honda line-up for the 2022 WorldSBK season - is a BSB return on cards?

Leon Haslam - Team HRC Honda

Leon Haslam faces an uncertain future following formal confirmation he will exit the Team HRC Honda WorldSBK squad at the end of the season.

Honda became the last of the five manufacturers to firm up its factory rider line-up for the 2022 WorldSBK season with GP pairing Iker Lecuona and Moto2’s Xavi Vierge forming a high-profile, albeit all-rookie rider line-up for the Spanish-based outfit.

Hired alongside big money signing Alvaro Bautista for 2020 after being dropped by Kawasaki in favour of Alex Lowes, Haslam proved a decent match for the 14-time racer winner in the first season with the CBR1000RR-R but has largely struggled in 2021.

Despite this, Honda wished him a fond farewell and thanked him for bringing his veteran insight and diligent work ethic to the burgeoning HRC WorldSBK project.

“Over the time spent working together, we have had the opportunity to appreciate Leon as both a rider and as a person," said Team HRC manager Leon Camier. "We want to thank him for his hard work, dedication and full commitment to our project and the team. It has been a pleasure to work with him, and we wish him all the best for the future.” 

The relatively late announcement from HRC means Haslam won’t land a full factory ride for next season, while his WorldSBK privateer options look similarly slim with Team Go Eleven, Orelac Kawasaki, Pedercini Kawasaki, Gil Motorsport and MIE Honda the last of the 2021 WorldSBK teams to announce their riders.

As such, Haslam could find himself making another return to BSB next season, the series he dominated to take a long-awaited maiden title with Kawasaki in 2018.

While a Honda Racing berth seems a natural step for the 38-year old, VisionTrack Ducati, McAMS Yamaha, Synetiq BMW are also yet to confirm riders for their works-backed BSB effort.

Indeed, Haslam has shown he can adapt to anything with a remarkable career record in Superbikes spanning almost two decades that has included stints with Ducati, BMW, Suzuki, Aprilia, Kawasaki and Honda.

If Haslam does return to BSB, it looks like he won’t be the only high profile rider departing WorldSBK to give the domestic series a renewed go, with Tom Sykes believed to be nearing a deal with VisionTrack Ducati.

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