Interview with Leon Haslam

There were several occasions where we threw away a lot of points, maybe from eight races, whereas in the year at Suzuki we probably only threw away points from one race. You just can't afford to do that in WSBK. Having said that though, throughout the injuries I had during the season, I never missed a race and it was perhaps the injuries that made it worse.
Tell us about the Ten Kate Honda…

Leon Haslam:
The Ten Kate Honda allows you to ride far more aggressively than the BMW. Having said that though the new electronics package has changed how you ride the bike and you have to work far more on the set up.

The Stiggy and Suzuki had basic electronics which meant that the only option was to ride it hard whereas with these new HRC electronics you need to be far more considered. We're working on them with HRC.

In Australia we had a problem with the bike cutting out under acceleration because the ECU thought the back wheel was spinning and we've been working on a workaround for that during testing to try to trick the system not to do that. At BMW it took two years to get the electronics working though so spending some time getting them sorted on the Honda is normal.

If we went to the old electronics we might actually be faster on a specific race weekend but when we get the new electronics sorted we'll be faster in the long term. We need to persevere.

The bike's quite old and the improvements you can make to it are getting smaller and smaller and it's a credit to the team that they're still finding improvements, but Johnny showed at the weekend that it's still a capable package.
Would you prefer WSBK to have a more basic electronics package then?

Leon Haslam:
That might suit me from the results point of view, but you have to remember why we race. The fact that we're developing such things as ABS, tyres and traction control mean that we're improving safety on the road and those improvements can come from the racetrack to the road quickly.

Also, like in BSB, you can get to a position where a racing bike has less electronics than a road bike and that means that we're not racing the best.

Tighter regulations would affect different teams differently anyway. They might suit the Honda but BMW and Kawasaki on the other hand would be penalised more because their future strategy is more electronics based so the difference in performance would remain.

It's a Catch 22 situation in that we race to promote the company and develop and sell bikes and what we use has to reflect that.

Perhaps electronic levels need to be looked at from a racing point of view though.
Did you feel like you were joining Johnny Rea's team when you joined Ten Kate?

Leon Haslam:
No, not really, Johnny's got his own crew chief and I've got mine. The rest of the team work for the whole team.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Haslam, Aragon WSBK 2013
Haslam, Aragon WSBK Race 1 2013
Aprilia pack up, Misano WSBK 2017
Aprilia pack up, Misano WSBK 2017
Xavi Fores, Barni Ducati [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Eugene Laverty, Milwaukee Aprilia [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Alex Lowes, Pata Yamaha [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Leon Camier, MV Agusta Reparto Corse [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Tom Sykes, Kawasaki Racing Team, [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Michael van der Mark, Pata Yamaha [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Alex Lowes, Pata Yamaha [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Michael van der Mark, Pata Yamaha [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Tom Sykes, Kawasaki Racing Team, [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Lorenzo Savadori, Milwaukee Aprilia [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Marco Melandri, Racing Ducati [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Marco Melandri, Racing Ducati [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Alex Lowes, Pata Yamaha [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Tom Sykes, Kawasaki Racing Team, [Credit: Ian Hopgood]

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Einar - Unregistered

May 09, 2013 1:53 PM

I love this interviews. Real questions and real unusually honest answers from the riders. In this day and age usually the interviews are so superficial because everything rotates around money and keeping the team and the sponsors happy. So you usually never get the honesty. Keep up the good work Crash, but please take the Crash TV link of autoplay. When I was riding this interview I had to push the stop botton everytime I got to a new pace.

RaceFan - Unregistered

May 09, 2013 9:07 AM

You have to admire how tough and dedicated he is to his racing. As James Whitham often says, these guys will be racing quicker than most people will walk, after a break. Where the bike is concerned, even with LH and JR on the Honda, it's simply not fast enough for them to win races and needs a faster motor. They have both won races before, so come on Honda, give them more bhp! It's not fun watching riders of this calibre making up lost ground on the brakes, just to stay in touch!

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