After two successful teething years in the World Superbike Championship, BMW Motorrad Race team has signed Leon Haslam to pilot the second S1000RR alongside Troy Corser. Leon stands to finish this year’s WSBK Championship in Second place atop his Suzuki GSX-R1000.
BMW Motorrad has been eying Leon’s performance for some time, while Leon has been impressed by the S1000RR’s pace fresh out of the box. With mutual interest in working together, a contract for the 2011 Championship has been signed. Leon Haslam will be replacing BMW’s current rider, Ruben Xaus. Ruben has proved fast at times, but has largely been accident prone and inconsistent. By signing Leon, BMW has positioned themselves for a stronger attack on the 2011 World Title.
The following are official quotes from both BMW Motorrad and Leon Haslam upon confirmation of this engagement.
BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director Berthold Hauser: “We’re extremely excited about working with Troy and Leon.” “This rider pairing brings together a wealth of expertise and youthful fighting spirit. We’re very pleased to have not only a double world champion in our team for next year, but also the runner-up in the 2010 World Championship. It’s just the right combination for our recently formed team at this stage of the project.” “We’ve been monitoring Leon for a long time now and have been more than impressed by his strengths as a rider. We’re extremely happy to be able to welcome him into our team. We have a strong pair of riders in Troy and Leon and are in no doubt that we’ll be able to achieve our ambitious aims with them on board. We would also like to thank Ruben Xaus, who over the last two years has helped to take the team to where it is today. We wish him all the best for the future.”
Leon Haslam: “I’ve watched the progress of the BMW S1000RR in the past two seasons and the almost constant improvement of the machine has been very impressive. I’m very much looking forward to riding the machine and experiencing for myself what I’ve been watching. The team has shown the potential to win and the team has the factory support required so I’m hopeful that I can add the extra little bit that is needed to win. I’m really grateful to BMW for showing such faith in me and patience during difficult times and we’re looking forward together now for a successful 2011.”
Leon Haslam profile:
Date of birth: 31st May 1983
Place of birth: Smalley/Derbyshire (GBR)
Residence: Smalley/Derbyshire (GBR)
Marital status: Engaged
Height: 1.73 m
Weight: 67 kg
Hobbies: Golf, wakeboarding, mountain-biking
Passion: My family, motor racing
Favourite circuits: Phillip Island, Assen, Silverstone
First bike: Honda QR 50
First race: 1997, Argentina, 50cc class
Career highlights: 2006/2008: 2nd in British Superbike Championship
2010: WSBK, Kyalami (RSA), Race 2
2010: Currently 2nd in the WSBK riders’ standings
WSBK history: 82 races, 19 podiums, 3 wins, 9 second places and 7 third places, 1 pole position, 2 fastest race laps