Leon Haslam says a first MCE British Superbike win of the year followed by third place at Oulton Park represents a solid accomplishment which enables him to effectively wipe out the deficit to fellow title favourites Michael Laverty and Shane Byrne.
After claiming a second straight pole position the JG Speedfit Kawasaki rider converted it into a race victory, his first in his comeback BSB season, after mastering the wet conditions.
In race two a sudden downpour minutes before the sighting lap dampened the Cheshire track and threw up tyre strategy dilemmas, with Haslam opting for the bold decision to switch to front and rear slicks on the grid.
His JG Speedfit Kawasaki crew rattled through the changes but due to time constraints they were not able to adjust the ZX-10R's front suspension forks to the ideal dry set-up.
Despite an ill-behaving bike Haslam fended off team-mate James Ellison and Tyco BMW's Michael Laverty for the final rostrum spot and a valuable extra podium credit.
“With the set-up we chose [in race two] and the way it worked out it was the maximum we could produce,” Haslam said. “I felt in race one I could have pushed on harder but then I could have pushed into a mistake. Race two I couldn't have done any more than third.
“The boys in front produced too much of a gap at the start so I couldn't bridge that gap and when we got some trickles of rain at the end it gave them more confidence than me on the slick tyres.
“Early on I was slow because I was on slicks when Cooper and Iddon had Intermediate fronts, the full slicks were really tough in the wet conditions. But when it did dry up I couldn't maximise my slick tyres because I didn't have a full dry set-up and I was on the bottom. So in braking and in the mid-corners I was really lacking more than I should have done.
“I felt like a road block because I was holding them up on brakes and they were passing me quite easily while braking is normally one of my strong points. I felt I was holding them up so to beat them I felt quite lucky as they were a lot faster in brakes and mid-corner, so the third felt like a win.”
Haslam's results saw him jump to fourth in the BSB championship standings, four points off Laverty and six off Byrne, but lost ground to new leader Christian Iddon after his double second places.