Leon Haslam says getting the new Honda CBR1000RR-R up to speed in the World Superbike championship will be “a big challenge” but has faith in HRC’s resources and ambitions for 2020.

The 2018 British Superbike champion switches from Kawasaki to Honda this winter and will be getting to grips with the Tokyo factory’s new Superbike which was launched this week at the EICMA show in Milan.

Haslam, who was officially confirmed as a Honda rider at EICMA, joins alongside Alvaro Bautista and Crash.net understands he signed his 2020 deal during a trip to Japan immediately after the Qatar WorldSBK final round and spent time in Honda’s wind tunnel.

The British rider is naturally delighted to secure a factory HRC ride for the 2020 WorldSBK campaign, along with an expected entry into the Suzuka 8 Hours, but is plainly aware of the task ahead getting the all-new bike to a competitive level in time for the opening round at Phillip Island next February.

“For me to get the opportunity to be back with Honda and, most importantly, as an official rider with HRC back in the championship with a factory team, is like a dream come true,” Haslam said. “It’s so exciting to be involved in the project and already I’m thinking about when I can ride the bike and get to Phillip Island, one of my favourite tracks, for the first race. I can’t wait to ride the CBR1000RR-R.

“A new bike means that we’re looking at a big challenge of course, but the project is extremely professional, and we all know what Honda and HRC are capable of. What they have achieved in the racing world speaks for itself.

“It’s really a fantastic opportunity for me, and I’m ready to give it my all, for the team, the company and all our fans around the world.”

After a tough 2019 campaign with the Moriwaki-led effort which effectively became a data-gathering year, Honda is looking for a fresh start next season in the World Superbike championship with a new bike and new faces in the HRC garage. The team is expected to gain support from Honda’s MotoGP engineering heads with Repsol Honda team manager Alberto Puig taking charge.

Haslam has started over 250 World Superbike races and notched up five wins along with 45 podiums across his career. The British rider is also the three-time winner at the Suzuka 8 Hours including twice with Honda (2013 and 2014) and once with Kawasaki (2019).

 

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