Pata Honda rider Leon Haslam earned two seventh place finishes at round nine of the 2014 World Superbike Championship at Laguna Seca in the USA.
The Smalley rider’s teammate Jonathan Rea did even better, taking his Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP to third place in a truncated race two. The two races were won by Marco Melandri and Tom Sykes.
Haslam had matched his teammate’s pace for most of the Laguna Seca weekend but front grip issues restricted progress for the 31-year-old in the first race, in which he finished three seconds behind Rea.
The grip issue transferred to the rear of Haslam’s bike in race two and he was forced to settle for another seventh place finish.
Leon Haslam explained: “In race one I felt pretty good – I got a good start but really struggled with front grip from lap one.
“I was hanging in there for a top five finish but in the last six or seven laps my pace dropped off quite a lot as I was really struggling with the front grip. In race two, we didn’t change anything but the front grip came back and it was really good, but we struggled more with rear grip.
“We need to analyse why because the bike was the same and the boys have worked really well this weekend and we’ve been making good progress, especially on old tyres. To be that slow on new tyres in those re-starts was not what we wanted.”
This weekend, both Pata Honda riders will fly to Japan to join other Honda CBR1000RR-powered teams in the prestigious Suzuka 8 Hours race on before there is an extended summer break, with the World Superbike Championship re-grouping for round ten at Jerez in Spain, to take place on September 5-7.