Click here for full WorldSBK race one results from Donington Park

Leon Haslam says his second place in the Donington Park opener was a dream result on his wildcard return to World Superbikes for Puccetti Kawasaki.

The MCE British Superbike championship leader, who claimed a dominant double at the same circuit in April, enjoyed a trouble-free but lonely race having the pace to stay ahead of the chasing Marco Melandri but unable to bridge the gap to the factory Kawasaki pair of Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes.

After Chaz Davies suffered an early fall from the lead, Haslam looked set to secure third place but Rea's late tyre blow out promoted him to second place to produce a remarkable feat for a wildcard rider.

The Puccetti Kawasaki rider battled back from a frustrating qualifying in which he crashed out to start eighth on the grid but felt once in his rhythm he was only needing to manage the gap and will look to fight further forward in race two.

"On my Friday practice pace I thought I could maybe challenge for a podium place but today we had a bit of a disaster as we crashed in qualifying," Haslam said. "We tried to go back to yesterday's settings but with track temperatures being so different it was tricky.

"Chaz and Jonathan crashed but I was still happy with what I did and managing the gap behind me. So I'm over the moon and so happy for Puccetti Racing who are a fantastic team. It is a dream to come back and stand on your own podium.

"I knew I could maintain a pace but it was not as fast as I thought it could have been. I had four seconds between me and the guys behind me but I felt I could have gone faster had I needed to but there was no point in risking a crash."

Haslam becomes the first non-factory rider to record a World Superbike rostrum since Xavi Fores finished third in the wet race two at Lausitzring last year.

Haslam is also the first wildcard rider to reach the World Superbike podium since Max Biaggi for Aprilia in race one at Sepang in 2015.



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