LEON HASLAM finished in second place in Sunday’s opening race of the fifth round of the World Superbike Championship at Donington Park, before a dramatic last corner melee in race two robbed him of victory.
In an exciting opening 23-lap race Haslam was embroiled in a five-way battle which ended with him taking second place after running wide and through a gravel trap with four laps to go. The race was won by Haslam’s team-mate Marco Melandri.
“I had a good pace in race one,”� said Haslam. “In the end I have to say that I am disappointed with the second place. With four laps to go I had a big wobble coming out of Coppice corner and it put me on the right-hand side of Marco instead of the left as we approached the esses.
“He then braked a bit earlier that lap and I had nowhere to go but the gravel trap. It was kind of a combination of things that caught me out but fair play to Marco. And a BMW 1-2 result is just fantastic.”
Haslam looked to have done enough to win a thrilling second race, leading into the final, slow left-hand corner before Melandri made an attempt to pass, forcing Haslam wide. That left the gap for eventual winner Jonathan Rea to take the lead but he collided with Haslam on the exit of the corner and Haslam fell, taking Melandri out as well.
Haslam then pushed his stricken BMW S1000RR over the line in typically determined fashion to finish in 15th place and secure the final World Championship point.
“Right now I just want to forget race two, it’s so disappointing,” admitted Haslam. “I feel frustrated because I was going for my first win for BMW and at my home round. But we were denied that well deserved victory. The crash was obviously not my fault at all but that’s racing, what a day. We’re now all looking forward to the next round.
“Hopefully we can turn things around in the next round at Salt Lake City, USA in two weeks. I want to dedicate my race one result to former Donington Park manager Robert Fearnall who was a close friend of the family and passed away earlier this year.”
World Superbike Championship, round five, Donington Park.
Race results (both races 23 laps � 92.529km/57.461 miles); Race one: 1 Marco Melandri, Italy (BMW) 34m 26.736s � 161.174kmh/100.089mph, 2 Leon Haslam, GB (BMW) +0.728s, 3 Tom Sykes, GB (Kawasaki) +1.609s, 4 Jonathan Rea, GB (Honda) +1.819s, 5 Max Biaggi, Italy (Aprilia) +2.102s, 6 Carlos Checa, Spain (Ducati) +4.820s, 7 Davide Giugliano, Italy (Ducati) +7.520s, 8 Sylvain Guintoli, France (Ducati) +7.927s, 9 Leon Camier, GB (Suzuki) +15.144s, 10 Michel Fabrizio, Italy (BMW) +16.065s.
Race two: 1 Jonathan Rea, GB (Honda) 34m 31.847s � 160.777kmh/99.843mph, 2 Max Biaggi, Italy (Aprilia) +0.508s, 3 Tom Sykes, GB (Kawasaki) +2.029s, 4 Leon Camier, GB (Suzuki) +4.245s, 5 Sylvain Guintoli, France (Ducati) +6.595s, 6 Ayrton Badovini, Italy (BMW) +17.469s, 7 Chaz Davies, GB (Aprilia) +17.788s, 8 Loris Baz, France (Kawasaki) +21.093s, 9 Peter Hickman, GB (Suzuki) +21.866s, 10 Hiroshi Aoyama, Japan (Honda) +22.620s. 15 Leon Haslam, GB (BMW) +1m 20.196s
World Championship points after five of 14 rounds: 1 Biaggi 128.5, 2 Sykes 123.5, 3 Rea 108, 4 Checa 105.5, 5 Melandri 97.5, 6 Haslam 89, 7 Guintoli 85, 8 Laverty 65, 9 Giugliano 50, 10 Smrz 44.5.
Manufacturers points: 1 Ducati 161.5, 2 Aprilia 139, 3 BMW 131, 4 Kawasaki 129.5, 5 Honda 112, 6 Suzuki 40.5.