UPDATE: Leon Haslam now officially confirmed alongside Alvaro Bautista at the factory Honda WorldSBK team next season.

Leon Haslam is set to trade a factory Kawasaki for a factory Honda in the 2020 World Superbike championship, joining the official HRC squad alongside Alvaro Bautista on the all-new Fireblade.

Having dominated the British championship in 2018 Haslam returned to the world stage this season, but endured a difficult campaign on the Kawasaki. Injuries added up throughout the campaign and he finished the year seventh in the standings.

But Haslam will offer Honda plenty of experience with over 250 Superbike starts to his name, including podiums on six different brands of machinery.

While the deal is yet to be confirmed, Crash.net understands that after the Qatar WorldSBK finale Haslam flew to Japan and has already spent time in the wind tunnel.

An official announcement about Bautista's team-mate could be made at the upcoming EICMA show.

Haslam has six Honda WorldSBK podiums to his name the past - racing as a wild-card for HM Plant in 2008 as well as Stiggy Honda and Ten Kate Honda - and is a three-time Suzuka 8 Hours winner.

For HRC, Haslam's Suzuka 8 Hours form could also have been a key factor. As part of the Kawasaki squad that won this year’s edition, Honda will be confident that a team likely to consist of Haslam, Bautista and Takumi Takahashi would offer a real chance of competing with Kawasaki and Yamaha.

2019 was a very difficult season for Honda in WorldSBK with the Moriwaki-led effort spending much of the season gathering data, plus injuries to lead rider Leon Camier.

But there will be major changes to the bike and team for next year and, with Repsol Honda team principal Alberto Puig now in charge, it is expected that the Spaniard will bring in some new faces to the WorldSBK garage from MotoGP.

 

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