Silverstone played host to a dramatic World Superbike round today with BMW Motorrad Motorsport’s Leon Haslam coming close to clinching a rostrum finish in front of his home crowd. The sun shone for both 18 lap races and the action on track was equally hot.
Race one started promisingly for factory rider Leon Haslam, who made a good start from 9th on the grid to join the leading group in 6th in the early laps. As the race progressed, two separate battles became evident with factory rider Troy Corser and BMW Motorrad Italia’s Ayrton Badovini going toe-to-toe in the chasing group as they battled hard for 7th.
As the laps tumbled, seven riders fell victim to the tricky Silverstone circuit, but all four BMW pilots held on until the chequered flag. Leon Haslam was the first of the four BMWs to cross the line in 4th position after fighting hard with pole sitter John Hopkins and Marco Melandri. Troy and Ayrton secured 9th and 10th places respectively, while James Toseland enjoyed a solid 12th position finish on his first race back from injury. Top honours went to championship leader Carlos Checa, who secured victory with a faultless performance.
Race two saw a difficult opening lap for two of the four BMW Motorrad Motorsport’s riders with Leon Haslam dropping back to 10th and James Toseland rejoining at the back of the field after coming together with two other riders. As Leon set about chasing down the leaders and James attempted to claw his way back from 18th position, Badovini and Corser were close together in the fight for 10th.
As the race gathered pace at the front, Troy was visibly struggling, slipping back into the clutches of fellow BMW rider James Toseland in the fight for remaining points. Corser eventually retired from the race early with a technical issue. Fellow factory BMW rider, Leon, continued to push and, at half race distance, managed to take seventh position from Fabrizio. However, with a four second gap to the leaders to contend with and a charging Guintoli chasing him down, Leon still faced a battle to the end, eventually being forced to settle for 8th position. BMW Motorrad Italia riders Ayrton Badovini and James Toseland remained stable in 10th and 13th respectively.
The action at the front remained electric and went right down to the wire with an intense three-way battle for the final podium position. But it was to be the same three from race one who took to the podium with Carlos Checa doing the double followed by Laverty and Melandri.
Leon Haslam: “In race one I was really happy with the start, I was able to get myself into the position I wanted to be in and run with the leaders. I was really pushing for the podium and battled to keep with Melandri but I was really struggling to pass him and remain in front. I was happy to be running close to the front and the lap times were OK, I just couldn’t quite get on the podium. In race two I was having a few issues with the bike and I was forced to adapt my riding style to try and ride around it. I got to the point where I was able to run consistent lap times but by then the leaders had gone. Now we have the summer break so I am just looking forward to spending some time at home and preparing in the gym for the next races.”
Troy Corser: “In race one I got a great start, I actually had a little incident at the first corner where I collided with another rider, which did cost me a bit of time and, to be honest, I was lucky not to go down. I fought hard and managed to get to the front of the group and I felt good on the bike, but the grip levels dropped off as the race progressed and it was causing me to slide and spin the rear tyre. I just managed the situation the best I could and brought it home. In race 2 we had an issue with the bike, which we are currently looking into, and that sadly brought an early end to the race for me. We are not sure exactly why the issue occurred but it does seem unusual because we only made minor changes between races. The changes we made seemed to improve the package, but sadly we couldn’t take advantage of that.”
Bernhard Gobmeier (BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director): “We leave Silverstone with mixed emotions. In the first race, Leon’s lap times were good enough for a podium finish. After the second race, he complained about chattering. This didn’t allow good lap times. Troy showed a really good performance in race 1 and demonstrated that he is back from his injury. In the second race he brought the bike back to the garage and retired early from the race as he had technical issues. We now will analyze the data and find out what the problem was. The entire squad in Stephanskirchen, Munich and at the race track has worked hard over the last couple of months. Everybody should now recover before we come back to our home race at Nürburgring.”
Race one: 1. Checa (ESP – Ducati), 2. Laverty (IRL – Aprilia), 3. Melandri (ITA – Yamaha), 4. Leon Haslam (GBR – BMW Motorrad Motorsport),9. Ayrton Badovini (ITA – BMW Motorrad Italia), 10 – Troy Corser (AUS – BMW Motorrad Motorsport), 12 James Toseland (GBR – BMW Motorrad Italia)
Race two: 1.Checa (ESP – Ducati), 2. Laverty (IRL – Aprilia), 3. Melandri (ITA – Yamaha), 8. Leon Haslam (GBR – BMW Motorrad Motorsport),10. Ayrton Badovini (ITA – BMW Motorrad Italia), 13 James Toseland(GBR – BMW Motorrad Italia) – DNF Troy Corser (AUS – BMW Motorrad Motorsport)
Points: 1. Checa– 343, 2. Biaggi – 281, 3. Melandri – 272, 5. Haslam – 158, 8. Badovini – 112, 15. Corser 62, 23. Toseland – 10