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Leon Haslam confirmed to HRC Honda WorldSBK team

Leon Haslam will join the new HRC-supported Honda WorldSBK team riding the all-new Honda CBR1000RR-R alongside Alvaro Bautista

Leon Haslam has completed HRC Honda’s 2020 WorldSBK Championship rider line-up alongside Alvaro Bautista aboard the all-new Honda CBR1000RR-R.

Much anticipated once it became clear Haslam’s contract would not be renewed by Kawasaki for 2020, Haslam was presented as its rider during the formal unveiling of its brand-new Superbike entry, which for the first time will be run by the official factory HRC team.

The deal marks a return to Honda for Haslam, who previously competed with the manufacturer in BSB and during three seasons of WorldSBK - in 2009 with the privateer Stiggy team, before joining the works supported Ten Kate Racing outfit in 2013 and 2014.

Indeed, Haslam is one of the most experienced riders on the WorldSBK grid having achieved race winning success with Suzuki and Aprilia, while he has also enjoyed competitive stints on Kawasaki and BMW machinery.

Haslam’s deal is announced as Honda officially pulled the wraps off its much anticipated, more powerful Honda Fireblade, which will be prepared and developed by an arm of the multiple MotoGP title-winning HRC team out of Spain for the first time next season.

The Briton will join Bautista in the fresh line-up having opted to end his relationship with Ducati in favour of Honda after just a single season.

Leon Haslam brings experience to burgeoning HRC WorldSBK effort

Though it hasn’t been the most sparkling of WorldSBK comebacks for Haslam this season, he remains one of the steadiest hands on the grid armed with a significant amount of experience, a trait a team like HRC Honda really needs.

Indeed, though HRC certainly knows its way around a motorcycle, it is still very fresh in WorldSBK terms having entrusted much of its representation to Ten Kate Racing until the end of 2018.

The decision to shift allegiance to Althea Moriwaki Racing for 2019 was an attempt to pay closer attention to the inner functions of a WorldSBK team while it developed it’s the machine behind closed doors. 

This is a timely move for Haslam, who faced a return to BSB – which he dominated in 2018 – or a switch to the privateer Puccetti Kawasaki set up after being ousted from his Kawasaki Racing Team spot by Alex Lowes.

Significantly, it keeps him in with the chance to ride the Suzuka 8 Hours – which he won this year – and depending on the strength of the bike, could give him a great chance to feature at the front of the field in 2020.

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