Leon Haslam is set to return to the MCE British Superbike championship after signing for JG Speedfit Kawasaki and is already focusing on a title fight in 2016.
The official factory-backed Kawasaki squad in BSB will expand its rider line-up into a three-bike attack with Haslam joining the already announced James Ellison and Peter Hickman. The experienced superbike rider returns to the series after seven consecutive seasons in World Superbikes and leaves the factory Aprilia squad with the Italian manufacturer still yet to confirm its 2016 plans.
Haslam finished runner-up in BSB on two occasions, in 2006 and 2008, while taking 16 BSB race wins and 38 further rostrum results and is thrilled to return to the championship.
“I'm super excited to be coming back to BSB,” Haslam said. “It's one of the most competitive series in the world and has a huge fan base and following, so I'm really looking forward to getting back out there and racing in front of the British crowd.”
The 32-year-old rider is already relishing the opportunity to work with JG Speedfit Kawasaki and the new ZX-10R and is looking to get up to speed and fight at the front straightaway.
“I made the decision that I wanted to come back a few months ago and began looking at different options,” he explained. “I've known Mark for quite a while and I've seen how quickly and professionally the team has grown so they were my first option really.
“I've seen first-hand how dominant the old ZX-10R still was, so with this new one already proving faster in testing I can't wait to get out there next month and try the JG Speedfit Kawasaki for the first time. It will also be my first time competing in the Showdown format so I'm looking forward to that, but our goal from the start of the year is to come back and be challenging at the front from the start.”
JG Speedfit Kawasaki team principal Mark Smith-Halvorsen says the team plans to get Haslam up to speed with the new ZX-10R in an intense pre-season testing schedule which commences next month, where he will also join up with Ellison and Hickman for the first time.
“Everyone in the team is excited to be welcoming Leon for 2016,” Smith-Halvorsen said. “He has proven to be one of the most successful riders within Superbike racing and we know that he won't be returning to make up the numbers.
“Although behind the scenes the signing has been a very quick deal, we're already in the process of building a third ZX-10R Superbike which Leon will get to experience when he joins James and Peter next month. With a combination of the new Kawasaki and three of the strongest riders on the grid, I truly believe we have the right package to win our debut MCE British Superbike Championship title. It's up to us now, to turn that into a reality.”