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WSBK Rider of the Year 2015: 6th - Leon Haslam

After difficult years at BMW and then Honda, Leon Haslam took full advantage to remind the WSBK paddock of his ability on the Aprilia RSV4.
6th – Leon Haslam
Average poll score out of ten: 6.4
Team: Red Devils Roma Aprilia
Bike: Aprilia RSV4
Wins: 2
Podiums: 9
Poles: 2
Fastest Laps: 2
Best Finish 1st
Championship points: 332
Championship position: 4th

If the 2015 World Superbike Championship confirmed just one thing, it's that the Honda CBR1000RR is indeed enough of an enigma to puzzle even the most talented of riders.

Of course, Jonathan Rea's instant success the moment he switched to Kawasaki and the spiral experienced by defending champion Sylvain Guintoli going the other way was evidence enough, but it was Leon Haslam's unexpected return to race winning glory with Aprilia that simply hammered home the message to Honda.

Though leaving it late to confirm his 2015 plans was more down to circumstance than choice, Haslam's patience would nonetheless reap dividends as he found himself in the right place at the right time when Aprilia belatedly confirmed its presence.

Though it would be entered in a 'works assisted' capacity through the Red Devils Roma squad, the RSV4 remained a potent force even without any significant pre-season updates.

With the advent of a proven, championship winning bike beneath him, Haslam unleashed a torrent of speed not seen in his two years at Honda - or even BMW - from the off at Phillip Island. When he crossed the line to take a hugely popular last gas win, it was his first step atop the podium in five years.

Consolidating this with three more podiums from the opening two events, it seemed Haslam was primed to be Rea's biggest rival for the title in an unexpected battle of the two former Honda team-mates.

Unfortunately, as accomplished as the Aprilia package is, a change in the regulations would neuter the RSV4's strongest traits even before it began to slip away in the development race compared with Kawasaki and Ducati.

As such, though Haslam was able to maintain a consistency that would keep himself in and around the front pack all season, podiums were harder to come by as the season progressed.

Nonetheless, Haslam would still conclude the season in fitting style, reeling off a hard fought second win of the year in Qatar, an appropriate swansong in what is likely to be Aprilia and Haslam's last race in WSBK, at least for the time being.

A belated reminder of his ability at this lofty level, it's in some ways a shame that Haslam will now forge a trail back to the BSB in 2016, though he will do so with confidence aplenty

Previous WSBK Poll results for Leon Haslam
WSBK Rider of the Year 2014: 12th
WSBK Rider of the Year 2013: 12th
WSBK Rider of the Year 2012: 12th
WSBK Rider of the Year 2011 7th
WSBK Rider of the Year 2010 1st
WSBK Rider of the Year 2009 5th

Do you agree the poll results? If not, why not? Leave your comments below...

7. Alex Lowes
8. Davide Giugliano
9. Davide Giugliano
10.
Sylvain Guintoli

About the vote:
Rather than repeat the Riders' World Championship standings, the WSBK Rider of the Year poll asks viewers to take into account factors such as machinery, performance relative to a team-mate, riding style, experience, injuries, progress and personality just as much as race results.

Over 50,000 votes were cast for the 2015 Crash.net WSBK Rider of the Year poll, where viewers awarded each of the top twenty from this year's WSBK standings with a mark out of ten.


Tagged as: Aprilia , Leon Haslam

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Haslam, Jerez WSBK 2015
Eugene Laverty Aprilia Jerez Test
Haslam, WSBK Race2, Qatar WSBK 2016
Haslam, WSBK Race2, Qatar WSBK 2016
Shanley and Ron Haslam, WSBK Race2, Qatar 2016
Haslam, WSBK Race2, Qatar WSBK 2016
Jonathan Rea and Haslam, WSBK Race1, Qatar WSBK 2016
Jonathan Rea and Haslam, WSBK Race1, Qatar WSBK 2016
Haslam, WSBK Race1, Qatar WSBK 2016
Haslam, WSBK Race1, Qatar WSBK 2016
Haslam, Qatar WSBK 2016
Haslam, Qatar WSBK 2016
Haslam, Qatar WSBK 2016
Haslam, Qatar WSBK 2016
Haslam, Qatar WSBK 2016
Haslam, Qatar WSBK 2016
Haslam, Qatar WSBK 2016
Haslam, Qatar WSBK 2016

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TheVimtoMoustache

December 19, 2015 12:04 AM

A winning factory bike in 2014 to 2 wins and 4th overall on a privateer bike in its final year says a lot. I think 6th overall is about right,Maybe a bit low. Lets see how he goes on the Kwak with 2 team mates at the top of their game in BSB next year.

cfsteezy

December 20, 2015 8:30 AM

@bigbikerjoe 2014 aprilia is hardly the 2015 bike due to rule changes...and red devils wasnt a full factory backed team either. They took and step back and knew they werent going to fight for the championship, their own words...



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