Smalley race ace Leon Haslam has targeted fitness and fine tuning as his main aims as he looks ahead to the 2014 season.
His return to the Honda fold with the Pata Honda World Superbike team for 2013 was a reunion between two racing families steeped in world championship racing.
A 30-year Honda-Haslam partnership that began with Leon’s father Ron racing on Honda GP machinery was renewed.
However, by round three of this year’s World Superbike championship, Haslam’s season was in tatters thanks to a double-break of his left leg sustained in a practice crash at a wet Assen circuit in The Netherlands.
After an air-ambulance flight back to the UK the following day, Haslam’s leg was pinned rather than plated to hasten his return to racing, which took place just four weeks later during practice and qualifying for his home race at Donington Park.
Apart from the racer’s instinct, the philosophy behind the rapid return to action was an urge to continue development of a new electronics package for 2013 that was being used on the Pata Honda CB1000RR Fireblades.
Haslam’s injuries actually prevented him from racing on that Donington weekend, and he struggled at the following round in Portugal.
But, by the end of June Haslam was scoring top ten finishes and spent the rest of the World Superbike season combining recovery with racing.
He said: “My first priority is to get properly fit after the injury and really concentrate on these tests to create a stable working machine.
“Hopefully that will give us a really fresh start to the 2014 season because I still feel very confident that we can be at the pointy end where we belong.”