For the 2019 World Superbike Championship season, we will see Leon Haslam lining up alongside teammate Jonathan Rea in the factory-backed Kawasaki Racing Team.
The announcement became officially official today, but it has been a long time coming from Kawasaki. Parting ways with Tom Sykes earlier this month, Haslam’s signing has been rumored in the WorldSBK paddock for many weeks now.
“I have to say a big thanks to Kawasaki for this opportunity,” said Leon Haslam. “Returning to the World Superbike Championship is something I’m really looking forward to.”
“After scoring race wins, lap records, pole positions and a championship runner-up position in my seven years there it’s going to be great to get back to WorldSBK. The support of Kawasaki throughout my three years in the British Superbike Championship and via KHI at the Suzuka 8-Hour race has been exceptional.”
“The like-minded approach from Kawasaki UK and KHI in Japan has been really appreciated and I’m now hoping to repay them with the 2018 British Superbike title and then to challenge for next year’s WorldSBK Championship.”
“The 2019 season will throw up some new challenges as the competitiveness between the manufacturers continues to be at the highest level but I’m confident that with the professional and successful team behind me we can enjoy plenty of success.”
Taking a page from Marco Melandri, who has also been working for Ducati Corse for free as well, Haslam is hoping to restart his international racing career, and move out of the British Superbike Championship.
Of course, It will be interesting to see whether this gamble pays off for Haslam, as well as Kawasaki.
Right now, Haslam is leading the British Superbike Championship on his JG Speedfit Kawasaki, and he is set to join Jonathan Rea and Kazuma Watanabe at this year’s Suzuka 8-Hour endurance race, as part of the official Team Green effort.
Source: Kawasaki Racing Team; Photo: © 2018 Tony Goldsmith / www.tonygoldsmith.net – All Rights Reserved
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