Leon Haslam suffered a first non-point-scoring finish of the year after finishing the opening race in 19th place and then retiring from the race two in round 13 of the World Superbike Championship at Portimao in Portugal.
The opening 22-lap race – started in wet conditions – was stopped on the eighth lap after oil was spilt on the circuit from another rider’s damaged engine. On the restart Haslam was reported to have jumped the start so received a ‘ride through’ penalty.
While taking the penalty, and with conditions improving, Haslam decided to change tyres, a move which officials penalised and handed the luckless BMW rider a second ‘ride through’. Haslam eventually finished in 19th place, recording the third fastest lap of a frustrating race.
In the second race, held in dry conditions, Haslam was in confident mood after two encouraging days of dry qualifying left him in fifth place on the grid. However, on the second lap, disaster struck and a technical issue forced him out of the race.
“What a disappointing day,” admitted Haslam. “All weekend I was so confident with the slick, dry weather tyre and with the race set-up and then today it rained!
“Normally I like the rain, but today it was difficult. For race one I thought that it would dry up so we chose the intermediate rear tyre which was a bit of a gamble. But it obviously didn’t dry up before the race was red flagged on lap eight.
“As before, for the restart the track still had not dried much so we decided to go with the same as all the other guys, but I made a jump start. Then, even before I had the ride through penalty, I had an issue with the machine in the wet so after I’d entered the pitlane twice the race was done for me. In race two, I didn’t get the best start but the race pace wasn’t that fast – more than two seconds slower than what I did in qualifying on the same tyres. Anyway, on the second lap I had a technical issue and had to stop. It was nobody’s fault but it was me again who had the bad luck.”