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Haslam Closes in on Biaggi After Silverstone Podium

Team Suzuki Alstare rider Leon Haslam endured two tough 18-lap races at the British World Superbike 10th round at Silverstone – racing to third in race one and a fourth in race two -  but closed the gap on series leader Max Biaggi.

But it was a day of frustration for the young Brit because he felt he could’ve challenged for the wins if things had gone his way a bit more and that would’ve narrowed the gap even more.

Haslam’s team mate Sylvain Guintoli suffered with having a too-hard tyre in race one and ended 12th. He used a softer tyre in race two and had a much better race, finishing seventh.

British riders filled all six spots of both podiums today in front of a home crowd of 65,000. Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha) took his first WSBK victory in race one and then followed it up with another win in race two. Jonathan Rea (Honda) took runner-up spot both times, with Haslam taking third in race one and Leon Camier (Aprilia) taking third in race two.

Leon Haslam – Race 1: 3rd, Race 2: 4th:

“Generally, I feel that today has been a bit frustrating because I think it could’ve and should’ve been better. When our package is perfect, I know I can challenge for wins, but when it is not, it can be a bit of a struggle and that’s how it was today. I made a bad start in the first race but managed to close the gap on the leaders and was getting ready to mount an attack on Jonathan Rea, but had gearbox problems for the last seven laps, so couldn’t push harder and get closer to him. A podium is not bad though, and it was good to be up there with two other Brits.

“We used a different engine in race two, but everything else was the same, including the tyres. However, this time the grip feeling was completely different and I really had to work hard to keep in the top four or so. On the last lap, I had a big fight with James Toseland. He passed me, but I was determined to get him back and that’s what I did. On the last turn, he tried to get round the outside of me at the beginning of the start-finish straight and hit me, breaking my tail fairing and exhaust bracket in the process. It was a bit of a hairy moment, but happily we both stayed on our bikes and crossed the line OK. It was a tough end to a hard race but, just like race one, I was happy to finish ahead of Max Biaggi. It would’ve better, if I could’ve got some more points, but that’s how it went today.”

Sylvain Guintoli – Race 1: 12th, Race 2: 7th:

“I am actually not sure what happened in race one, but we had tried some harder compound tyres in the morning warm-up and had really got on with them. So we used them in the first race and they behaved completely differently! I just couldn’t get anywhere near the same lap times and so struggled throughout the race. It was very frustrating to say the least, but I know that if I had gone any faster, I probably would’ve crashed. For me, race one was a complete disaster.

“Obviously we didn’t want to take that risk again for race two, so we used the same tyre that everybody was using and I was much happier. It was much more like it. I was able to get into a better rhythm, go faster and get close to my best lap times. I got pretty close to Max Biaggi and would’ve loved to have passed him because that would’ve been good for the team.”

World Superbike Results:

Race 1: 1 Cal Crutchlow (GBR-Yamaha), 2 Jonathan Rea (GBR-Honda), 3 Leon Haslam (GBR-Suzuki Alstare), 4 Michel Fabrizio (ITA-Ducati), 5 Max Biaggi (ITA-Aprilia), 6 Leon Camier (GBR-Aprilia). 12 Sylvain Guintoli (FRA-Suzuki Alstare).

Race 2: 1 Crutchlow, 2 Rea, 3 Camier, 4 Leon Haslam (GBR-Suzuki Alstare), 5 James Toseland (GBR-Yamaha), 6 Biaggi, 7 Sylvain Guintoli (FRA-Suzuki Alstare).

Championship Points: 1 Biaggi 373, 2 Leon Haslam (GBR-Suzuki Alstare) 313, 3 Rea 243, 4 Checa 204, 5 Crutchlow 188, 6 Toseland 179. 11 Sylvain Guintoli (FRA-Suzuki Alstare) 151.