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PICS: Leon Haslam makes first Honda appearance
11 October 2012
Leon Haslam has conducted his first test with the Honda team he will race with in the 2013 World Superbike Championship during a private session at Assen.
The 29-year-old joins Jonathan Rea to form one-half of Honda's all-British rider line-up for 2013, Haslam making the switch to the Japanese manufacturer after two seasons spent with BMW.
Getting his first taste of the 2012-specification CBR1000RR at Ten Kate Honda's designated test track at Assen, Haslam was reported to have set an unofficial time of 1min 37.5secs, a lap comparable with his fifth place qualifying effort aboard the BMW around the Dutch circuit earlier this year.
Though Haslam's contract with BMW means he cannot comment on his first test, his team manager Ronald ten Kate told Speedweek
that it was a trouble-free day.
“There were no crashes, no problems, we were able to try a lot of things,” he said. “After the test, Leon had a broad grin on his face, as the guys from the team. That's always a good sign. It wasn't about doing fast lap times We let Leon test lot of stuff and show him what we can do with the bike.
“The bike was more or less the same as the one used at Magny-Cours. We started with 16.5-inch wheels and then moved onto the 17 inch ones as they are mandatory next year.”
Haslam returned to WSBK competition in 2009 riding a Stiggy Honda before a switch to Alstare Suzuki in 2010 yielded his first series wins and a run to second in the standings. He raced with BMW in 2011 and 2012.
The Ten Kate-prepared team will be known as PATA Honda in 2013 after securing a title sponsorship deal with the Italian snack company.Images courtesy of Jannes Wester