Leon Haslam has eked his World Superbike Championship lead out to 18 points after completing his second victory of the season in Valencia.
The Suzuki Alstare rider moved to the front of the field in race one after capitalising on early leader Carlos Checa's mistake, Haslam never looking back as he pulled out an advantage all the way to the chequered flag.
His second win of the season – and a fifth consecutive podium finish -, Haslam was thrilled, and a little surprised, to take victory by such a comfortable margin.
“I made a reasonable start and was fourth at the end of the lap one and then just worked my way up to first by lap five,” he said. “Once I was in the lead, I realised that the pace was not great and it all felt pretty easy for me.
“I expected that I would come under attack, but my pit-board signals showed that my lead was increasing! I kept a good pace and felt comfortable enough to ease the pace at the end.”
Race two posed a greater challenge for Haslam after poor starts in Heats 1 and 2 forced him to twice fight his way back from the bottom end of the top ten.
While he managed to fight his way up to fourth place, brake problems would hinder any chance he had of making it onto the podium again.
“We made some small changes to the bike for race two - because of the hotter conditions - and managed to pass about five riders quite quickly despite not making a very good start. Then the race was stopped and we had to start again.
“We put a bit more preload on the front, but I began having brake problems before too long. The lever kept coming all the way back to the bar and that meant I couldn't be close to other riders and then pull out and pass them. I didn't feel confident braking and after three or four laps I was praying that the race would come to an end or that somebody in front would stop and I would get another podium.
Despite finishing behind closest rival Max Biaggi in the second race, Haslam has actually increased his championship lead by two points. He is now looking ahead to Assen, where he scored two podiums on the privateer Stiggy Honda in 2009.
“I am happy to be leading the series, delighted that I have increased the lead and really looking forward to Assen - a circuit where I think our bike will go really well.”