Donington Park ambassador Leon Haslam is revved up ahead of his Motul FIM Superbike World Championship wildcard appearance at the circuit this weekend (26-28 May), and confident of giving the leading riders a run for their money on his one-off appearance.
Haslam currently heads the standings in the British Superbike Championship and took two wins at Donington at the first round of the series in April. The Smalley rider is now hoping his form in Britain translates to the world scene, as he prepares to mount his Puccetti Kawasaki for battle. “We had a flawless BSB weekend at Donington and hopefully we can get close to the factory boys in World Superbikes and give the British fans something to shout about” he enthused.
And Haslam is a man who knows how to perform in the World Superbike Championship, and a proven front runner. “I’ve raced and won in World Superbikes before, so I know I am capable of winning more. The Puccetti Kawasaki team may be new to the championship, but we had a test in Portimao and we were already at a very high level, and we just need to wait and see how high we can go compared to the factory bikes, but from my perspective I want to be challenging the top three.”
It’s going to be a tough nut to crack, Jonathan Rea and Chaz Davies have been the men to beat in World Superbikes so far in 2017, but Haslam knows that threats lie elsewhere too. “Jonathan Rea and Chaz Davies are going to battle it out all year and are the two to aim for, and Tom Sykes is the form man at Donington Park, as he’s won the last eight races there. But it will be nice to see how close we can get to them with the Puccetti Kawasaki.”
“Donington is my local circuit, my favourite circuit and I know it like the back of my hand. I’m very grateful to Puccetti Racing and to JG Speedfit for giving me the opportunity to race against the world boys. A wildcard win is going to be difficult with the rules of today and how strong the factory riders are, but I’m going to give it all I’ve got and hopefully we can achieve big things!”
Leon will race in two World Superbike races across the weekend, while there is a full support race package of International and British championships. The event will also feature a huge schedule of off track entertainment including live bands, family entertainment zones, free entry to the Paddock Show and much more, providing a festival atmosphere. Tickets for the World Superbike Championship at Donington Park are available in advance until Wednesday 24 May at 5pm, and offer significant savings on the gate prices, while children aged 13 and under go free all weekend. For more information visit www.donington-park.co.uk.