JG Speedfit Kawasaki’s Leon Haslam, who secured a double race victory in the opening round of the 2017 MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship, will be looking for a repeat performance at Brands Hatch Indy this weekend (14th to 17th April).
Haslam stormed to the top of the championship table with 50 points after a convincing win on the Kawasaki ZX-10R at his local circuit in race one, followed by a close-fought battle with Josh Brookes on the Anvil Hire Yamaha in race two.
With a 19-point lead the Derbyshire rider is in a confident mood, however, with a long season ahead the 33-year-old will be looking to press home his advantage at every opportunity.
With a lap taking just 45 seconds, the Brands Hatch Indy circuit is one of the most hectic and demanding on the BSB calendar so Haslam and team mate Luke Mossey will be all too aware of the pitfalls it brings.
Mossey, from Royston in Cambridgeshire, also had a strong start to his 2017 campaign. The 24-year-old started the first race second on the grid and after slipping back to fourth, determinedly overtook Brookes followed by Ellison to slip into second behind Haslam.
Mossey’s fastest lap in race one proved to be the fourth fastest, so he started race two on the second row of the grid and was in a battle between third, fourth and fifth, with Glenn Irwin of the Be Wiser Ducati team and Christian Iddon of Tyco BMW.
Mossey fought hard and finished the race in fifth place, behind Irwin and Iddon respectively, but the result was enough to place him second overall in the championship standings with 31 points.
Reigning British sidecar champions Ricky Stevens and Ryan Charlwood will also join their team mates at Brands Hatch for their first appearance of the season. The duo took five victories and 17 podiums last year on their way to a second successive championship and will be aiming to get 2017 off to a good start as they seek an unprecedented hat-trick of titles.
Haslam said: “We’re looking forward to continuing the momentum going into Round 2. Brands Hatch Indy is quite a different and unique circuit but we managed to get a victory there last year and a third place in race two when we had a few little issues so fingers crossed we can do even better this season.
“We’ve got a new engine that hasn’t been tried and tested yet so the extra session on Friday will give us time to dial that in and get up to speed.”
Mossey said: “I can’t wait to go back to Brands Hatch Indy; it’s where we got our maiden pole last year and it’s my local circuit so I feel most at home there.
“Donington Park was the perfect start to the season for me and I’m hoping for a repeat performance this weekend. Having enjoyed some good rides at Brands Hatch in 2016, I’m looking to improve on my performance this year and maybe even claim my first BSB victory!”
Stevens said: “We’ve got a new bike for 2017, which we tested a couple of weeks ago at Val de Vienne in France, and we feel like we’re now ready to race. We hope to carry on where we left off at the end of last year and have been training hard to improve our fitness all winter.
“Pete Extance has been very supportive and being part of the Bournemouth Kawasaki team again this year has given us the consistency we need. Ryan and I feel much more confident and relaxed and we’re looking forward to getting back out there and competing to the best of our ability.”
Team Manager Jack Valentine added: “We had a fantastic opening round, chose the right tyre option and everything went as planned which doesn’t normally happen in racing! We were on the pace all weekend – consistently achieving mid to high 29s laps and we’re hoping to do the same at Brands.
“The whole team are looking forward to Round 2 especially after the great start at Donington Park. The technicians have worked hard over the last week with the new engines and hope to carry on the good work at Brands Hatch.”
To keep up to date with the latest news from JG Speedfit Kawasaki you can follow the team on Facebook @JGSpeedfitBournemouthKawasaki on Twitter @JGSpeedfitKawa or visit the website www.jgspeedfitkawasaki.com