Leon Haslam feels he displayed the pace to challenge for the podium during the opening round of the World Superbike Championship at Phillip Island, even if various issues would culminate in him finishing a modest seventh and tenth on his Pata Honda debut.
The 2010 runner-up was in feisty form during the early stages of the first race as he ran as high as second place, but found himself sucked into the chasing pack during the second-half when intermittent electronics problems struck.
Slipping to seventh place at the chequered flag, the result did nonetheless make Haslam the first Honda rider to finish ahead of Jonathan Rea inside the top ten since Carlos Checa last managed the feat back at Imola in 2009.
“It's been a bit of a disappointing day,” he said. “We had some issues that we couldn't overcome in race one and I ended up heading backwards. It felt like I had the pace to challenge for a rostrum but I was held back in a couple of areas.”
For race two, Haslam was caught up in the first lap collision between Loris Baz and Chaz Davies, the Briton dropped to the back of the field before fighting his way to tenth place.
“In race two we made some positive changes but I had a bad start and then got caught in the melée with two other riders crashing out down at the MG hairpin on lap one.
“I lost around 10 or 11 seconds that would have allowed me to battle for third or fourth again if I hadn't lost that time. There are a lot of 'if's and 'but's, and we've got a lot of work to do in this next month to try to resolve a few issues.”