March 1, 2020

Team HRC makes positive start
WorldSBK at Phillip Island

The Phillip Island circuit in Australia is hosting the inaugural round of the 2020 FIM Superbike World Championship, today’s action comprising the Superpole qualifying session and the first 22-lap race of the weekend. Team HRC enjoyed a positive debut race with the CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP, crossing the line fifth and sixth.

After a short final practice session earlier in the day, the team was ready for the all-important Superpole session which played out in warm, dry conditions. Having demonstrated consistent pace in yesterday’s sessions, the Haslam also proved strong over the flying lap, setting a series of fast times and a best of 1’29.859 to close fifth. A strong result which put him on the second row of the grid for the season’s opening race. 

Come 3pm local time, it was time for the inaugural race of the 2020 WorldSBK season. From fifth position on the grid, Haslam made a strong start, lying sixth through the opening stages. The Brit was able to maintain a consistent pace through the first half of the race, before closing in on, and passing, Sykes for fifth on lap 13. Just half a second from the race leader on lap sixteen, Haslam moved into fourth on that same lap. Struggling a little with rear grip by the final stages of the races, Leon did everything he could to hold on to fifth place, crossing the line to score his first 11 points of the 2020 season.

“Honestly speaking, I felt we had the pace to win today, but I was conscious of the rear grip levels right from lap one. I was able to remain with the leading group until about five laps from the end, after which a lack of grip made it impossible to keep up. Overall, I’m very happy with the bike handling, we just need smoother delivery out of the faster corners. The good thing is that we know where we need to focus our efforts tomorrow and going into the next races. Pace-wise I’m very happy and I really can’t fault the efforts of Honda and HRC; a positive first race day.”


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