You’ve got many years of experience in BSB – how hot does the competition feel this year?

LH: BSB is always super competitive and all the guys who come back from world level and then struggle proves that. To be fighting at the sharp end of BSB is always nice and show off your talents particularly when you consider how many nationalities take part. When you win in BSB it really means something.

But would it be nice to also beat Shakey for the title?

LH: Obviously all you can do is race the opposition you’ve got. But I’ve raced him a couple of years on the world stage and plenty in the UK and we’ve beaten him on the Ducati and on the Kawasaki he just pipped us at the last round. We actually scored more points than him but only lost because of the Showdown format and last year again we went into the final round with a big points lead and couldn’t put it to bed.

Both of those situations were out of my hands but we were easily there. Shakey’s a great competitor but it’s not like we haven’t beaten him. I really respect him as a rider and we’ve had some great battles together so it would be great for everyone if he can just get over his injuries and come back.

How is your fitness going into the Showdown?

LH: I’ve collected a lot of injuries over the years but I’m working with a good team of people. In my crash at the end of last year I snapped all the ligament in my tibia so I’ve had quite an extensive operation to have that screwed together so I’ve got some metal work for that in there and I’m hoping to have that removed this winter. I still haven’t got a full range of movement in the ankle but it’s not stopping me riding, as it stands I’m fit to finish the season.

Do you still have the rod in your leg bone from the bad break you had in your Pata Honda days?

LH: No I’ve had all that metal work removed – obviously that was the sixth time I broke that leg so I needed that rod because I’d also had a lot of soft tissue damage as well as the tibia break.

I’ve had the femur break which needed external fixation, the other tibia and femur I’ve broken twice. I’m quite a frequent visitor to the leg break clinic and I try to get the metal work out as soon as possible because it’s never good if you crash again with all that stuff in there. Unfortunately, the name of the game is getting back quickly after injuries.

Turning to next year, short of a Repsol Honda MotoGP ride, is the factory Kawasaki WorldBK one of the most coveted in bike racing?

LH: Yes, for sure. When I left the world championship in 2015 I remember winning the last race of the year and feeling so frustrated that I couldn’t continue in that championship on a bike I could win on with only the Kawasaki and Ducati being able to do well, so it was that that made me come back to the UK.

I’ve had chances to go back every year with a satellite ride but the right bike just wasn’t there. It’s the same with MotoGP, I wouldn’t go back there unless I could get a bike that could finish top 10 and with WorldSBK I needed a top five ride.

I have made my peace with that situation so when the chance came up to be the official Kawasaki rider it was a no brainer.

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