Leon Haslam flew the flag for Honda and the Brits in the ninth round for the World Superbike championship at his home track at Donington today. The 26-year old British ace took a fourth place in the first 23-lap superbike race, and highlighted another superb performance for the team in the second outing as he impressively snuffed fellow British riders as well as the other Honda’s in the field.
While chasing race leader Ben Spies, Haslam found a persistent Shane Byrne pushing at his rear wheel, but the man from Derby successfully outpaced the Ducati rider and took a well deserved second place on the rostrum in his home race.
John Hopkins made his return with the team after sitting out the last eight races and claimed his first top ten finish onboard the Stiggy Racing Honda CBR1000RR since he entered the championship. Hopkins defied the pain in his left hip while he kept the door closed on his rivals and surprised everyone as he took an impressive eight place at the flag.
Unfortunately, the American had to sacrifice the offer he made as the swelling of his injuries prevented a second race start. Hopkins chose to nurse his injuries and watched the second race from the sideline.
In the best round of the season so far the Stiggy Racing Honda team have shown their capacities and set out their goals for the remainder of the 14-round championship season.
Leon Haslam Speaks… (Race 1 – 4th, Race 2 – 2nd)
"After going to all these foreign countries it is so good to be back home and taking a good result in front of the English fans. To get the reception I got here today is just amazing. I was pushing for a good result here today and to be on the podium in the second race is just great. I had a few chatter issues in both races, but I managed to hold them off. Everyone seemed to be struggling with the grip in that second session. I felt pretty good on the first and second sector, but the Ducatis were really strong on the last split, so I had to work hard to keep them behind me. The pace was not that good, but I managed to hold it up and bring the bike home in second. I am looking forward to our test in Brno and am ready to make one more step ahead now and get on top of that podium."
John Hopkins Speaks… (Race 1 – 8th, Race 2 – DNS)
"First of all I want to apologise to the team and sponsors for not being able to ride the second race today. I got off the line really good in the first race but just poked around on the first lap and was not as aggressive as I normally am. But as the adrenaline kicked in I picked my way up to gain as many positions as possible. Halfway the race the pain kicked in and I struggled to move on the bike. From the whole of turn one to the end of the straight I just had to sit still on the bike and not put any pressure on my left leg. It is a good result for the condition I was in today. I have five days of testing coming up now and I am just really happy to be having fun on a motorcycle again. Even though I was in a lot of pain today, it was the best race I have had in the last two years. I have a lot of fun on the bike again, and that’s when you start getting faster."
Johan Stigefelt Speaks… (Team Manager)
"I am very happy with the fist race. Leon did very well and took the fourth position. John has just done a fantastic job again and surprised us all. He really has shown he is a top rider and we can’t wait for him to be back on full strength. A fourth and eighth finish in one race is the best result for our team so far this season. Unfortunately John could not ride the second race as he is still in too much pain. He couldn’t even get off the bike without help after the first race. He will now concentrate on getting fit for our test in Brno next week. Leon rode an amazing set of races here at his home track. He had some small issues but kept his head down and managed to keep his second place till the finish. I am very happy with the results he has achieved for the team and I am pleased he could achieve this in his home race in front of our English guests."
Results Race 1
4. L. Haslam
Results Race 2