Donington Park Grand Prix: Haslam preparing for ‘intense’ Showdown battle

Leon Haslam feels any of the top six contenders are capable of victory now but is relishing the prospect of his maiden Showdown battle.
Leon Haslam feels any of the top six contenders are capable of victory now but is relishing the prospect of his maiden Showdown battle in the MCE British Superbike championship.

The JG Speedfit Kawasaki rider comes into the Showdown off a run of four straight wins, while he hasn't finished lower than second in the past seven races, which has seen him wrestle the championship lead from Shane Byrne by three points.

Heading to his home round at Donington Park, Haslam is confident the Kawasaki ZX-10R will provide a strong showing at the iconic circuit with the Japanese manufacturer holding an impressive record in recent years at the track.

While Tom Sykes has stamped his authority over Donington Park with Kawasaki by taking eight consecutive wins at World Superbike level and Kawasaki machinery claimed both wins in BSB last season (James Ellison for JG Speedfit Kawasaki and Shane Byrne for PBM Kawasaki).

“I've definitely lost track of how many laps of Donington I've done over the years, but it's genuinely a circuit I love to race and I've had some fantastic results there in the past,” Haslam, a two-time BSB race winner at Donington Park, said. “After a bit of a tough mid-season we've had two fantastic rounds and to win the last four races has really set us up for the Showdown now.

“I believe the Kawasaki will work well at Donington – James showed last year the old ZX-10R was capable of winning around there and although the 2016 one is a completely new machine I'm confident we can go there and replicate that success.”

Despite his confidence Haslam isn't ruling out any of his Showdown rivals posing a threat to his current winning momentum and expects a full-bloodied battle for the remainder of the year for the BSB title.

“This will be my first time in the Showdown format but I'm excited to get it going,” he said. “It'll certainly be a tough few rounds for sure, all six Title Fighters are capable of victory so it's going to be an intense seven races.”
by Haydn Cobb

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