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EXCLUSIVE Haslam Crash.net viewer Q&A

10 April 2008

Q:
We have seen the 08 Honda struggle at the beginning of the WSBK season, are the HM plant Honda's further ahead in development, or do you think it will take a few rounds to get up to speed? Posted by Tom

Leon Haslam:
The 08 Honda is a great package but it is still in early development, but all that means is that every time we go out there is much more to come so it improves each time. My team around me is excellent so we progress very quickly. At Brands our race pace was very strong so in my mind it can just get better.

Q:
Obviously you are going to be a top contender for this years title, which other riders do you think are going to be pushing you to your limit this year for the top spot? Posted by Liam.C

Leon Haslam:
Shakey and Cal are both going to be strong, they are both great riders and they are on the best bikes. Now it is a one-make tyre most of the boys on Factory machinery should be up there.

Q:
From what we've seen so far, mainly in WSB, the Ducatis have the edge in the corners and the Hondas (and for that matter the Suzukis) only have it in the straights so far. The last two years in BSB has seen a bit of a pattern developing with some tracks, like Snetterton HM Plant Honda tracks and others like Brands Airwaves Ducati ones, mostly reflecting the ratio of straights to turns. Are you expecting pretty much the same sort of pattern to continue? Or is it really simply that somewhere like say Cadwell's a Leon Haslam track whilst maybe Mallory (Brands if Shakey wins Brands) is a Shakey Byrne one? Posted by Hedgeholer

Leon Haslam:
Some tracks are suited to the Ducatis, now it's the 1200 it should have more top speed so that should even out the playing field a little. Most riders will go well at tracks that they like, I have always loved Cadwell and I always seem to go well there.

Q:
Last year Kiyo, & I suspect Jonathan Rea too, had a deal with Honda along the lines of 'Do well in BSB & Suzuka and you can go to WSB (or WSS) on a top Honda ride. Do you have any such understanding in place with Honda. And for that matter will you be racing at Suzuka for 'em? Posted by Hedgeholer

Leon Haslam:
I have been invited to do the 8 Hour tests by HRC which is a great honour, but it is up to them if they place me in a team or not. If I do well this year in BSB and also at the three WSB that we are doing then I'm sure there will be plenty of opportunities to move to WSB.

Q:
What advice have you been given but ignored at your cost and what words of advise would you give young hopefuls of the future. Posted by Jon

Leon Haslam:
One bit of advice is that the championship is not won in the first race, but it can be lost. Two years ago I crashed at the first race on Paddock Hill bend at Brands, that year Kyo got the title, if I had stayed on and even finished in 5th I would have won the championship.

Q:
Do you think there should be a list of companies who should be banned from advertising on race leathers. If they are seen to continually renaig on sponsorship deals. But continue to use another rider to advertise the following year. I ask this ask a genuine concern. Posted by Mr B

Leon Haslam:
It's really hard to get sponsorship in British racing. I think the more a rider can get the better. However if a sponsor comes in but does not pay their rider after the season is done then they should not be allowed to sponsor anyone else.


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