Leon Haslam has set his sights on the 2010 World Superbike Championship title after confirming he will ride for Suzuki Alstare next season.
As expected, Haslam will ride alongside Sylvain Guintoli next year, Suzuki winning the race to sign the Briton following his remarkable season with the privateer Stiggy team that has yielded four podium finishes.
A third season at World Superbike level for Haslam, this will nonetheless be the first time he has competed with a factory bike on the international stage.
With that in mind, Haslam is curtailing his relationship with Honda in favour of joining Suzuki, a move he believes will see him fighting for the title straight away.
“The opportunity to join Team Suzuki Alstare was something that my father and I took extremely seriously immediately,” he said. “The team enjoys direct support from the manufacturer and a long history of success, so joining them offers me an exciting step forward in my career.
“Meeting Francis (Batta) and listening to his plans and desire to succeed confirmed the potential of the whole team and its infrastructure.
“Suzuki Alstare has a very experienced team of technicians and potential for development, both in-house and via the factory in Japan. This means that the team is 100 per cent geared up to win the 2010 World Superbike Championship.
“This is naturally opening a new chapter in my own career and one that I relish. The team has a promising winter test plan (with the Suzuki factory) so I'm very much looking forward to these tests, the 2010 World Superbike Championship and challenging for the world title.”
Following a difficult season beset by injury woes for both Max Neukirchner and Yukio Kagayama, Alstare Suzuki manager Francis Batta is hoping his all-new line-up for 2010 will revitalise the team.
“Leon has a good family set-up and they advise, support and help him very well. He has a real fighting spirit and is one of the best riders in the WSBK series, for sure. We are certain he will fit in perfectly with the Team Suzuki Alstare structure, as we both share the same desire to work hard and to win.
“With a team of such quality and experience as Suzuki Alstare, we feel that Leon will have a very bright future.”