Leon Haslam is preparing for his maiden outing on the Kawasaki ZX-10R as he begins pre-season testing with his new team JG Speedfit Kawasaki ahead of his return to the MCE British Superbike championship.
With Haslam being a relatively late announcement to the GBmoto squad for 2016 he missed the winter shakedown tests with a 'hybrid' version of the new Kawasaki ZX-10R in November, meaning he will debut with the Kawasaki at Jerez for a two-day test on the 26-27 January.
All three JG Speedfit Kawasaki riders will taste the all-new ZX-10R for the first time in Spain and Haslam says he's looking forward to the team's ten day test programme over the next two months and gelling with his new bike.
“It feels like a lifetime since I last rode a bike, so I really can't wait to get out at Jerez,” Haslam said. “The JG Speedfit Kawasaki deal came together quite late so this is probably the longest I've gone without riding a Superbike – but I'm not worried at all, the team have an impressive testing schedule in place before Silverstone and the guys have already shown just how competitive the new ZX-10R can be.”
The 32-year-old will also be joining up with new team-mates James Ellison and Peter Hickman for the first time and is confident the trio can work together to produce a strong challenger for the BSB season opener at Silverstone in early April.
“Having the likes of James and Pete in the team is going to be great and whilst we're certainly going to be pushing each other throughout the season, it's really going to help in testing as we can work together to get the bike setup,” he explained. “I've met most of the team already and it feels really good, so I'm really excited to get going.”
2016 will mark Haslam's return to BSB after a seven-year stint in the World Superbike championship which came to an end last year after Aprilia withdrew its factory squad. Haslam is a two-time runner-up in BSB, in 2006 and 2008, and this year will enjoy a maiden campaign on Kawasaki machinery.