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Leon Haslam says making his JG Speedfit Kawasaki a race win contender using the harder Pirelli compound throughout winter testing was the key behind his perfect start to the 2017 MCE British Superbike championship.

The 2016 BSB runner-up secured a dominant double victory at his home track Donington Park with two perfectly-measured charges using the Pirelli SC1 rear tyre.

Haslam led early on in race one before building a comfortable cushion over team-mate Luke Mossey but in the second race was made to sweat after slipping to third early on.

But a mid-race charge edging close to lap record pace saw Haslam reel in Josh Brookes before nipping ahead with five laps to go and ease home in style to get his 2017 off to the perfect start.

Haslam gave credit to his new-look JG Speedfit Kawasaki squad for their efforts over winter testing where he'd worked extensively refining his tyre management on the harder compound to still have sharp-end pace with the more durable tyre to also be strong at the end.

"All last year we had a battle between the softer and harder tyres for a race distance," Haslam said. "Over the winter we focused on trying to improve tyre life so we can use the harder option. I was a bit unsure because the track temperature was very high in the second race and got to SC0 territory.

"I was confident I could do the lap times and was managing it quite well but made a big mistake which allowed Josh to pull a gap on me so I had to push harder than I wanted to so I had to do two or three 1m 29.0s laps after half race distance. I'm happy I could do it on the hard tyre but I didn't want to push too hard and risk crashing.

"Luckily Josh's times started to drop at the end and I could make it count. Big credit to the team as it has been a long winter and they have put a lot of effort in so thanks to those guys."

 

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