British rider Leon Haslam will leave the official Kawasaki Racing Team at the end of the 2019 season after some strong showings in his first season back in the WorldSBK paddock after three years of successful BSB competition.
After winning the BSB Championship title in 2018 Leon was brought into the KRT WorldSBK set-up to join forces with record-breaking champion Jonathan Rea.
He had an immediate positive impact inside the overall KRT awning which culminated in winning the Suzuka 8 Hours race in partnership with Jonathan on the Ninja ZX-10RR.
Leon’s six podium scores – so far – in his comeback year prove that his 2019 adventure was another positive step along his incredible career path, spanning WorldSBK, BSB, MotoGP and EWC series, always competing strongly when he had competitive machinery.
In 2019 so far Leon has scored two podiums apiece at Phillip Island, Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli and his much loved home circuit of Donington Park in England. He also scored a wildcard podium finish on a Kawasaki in 2017, at Donington, while riding for Kawasaki Puccetti Racing team. With races in Argentina and Qatar yet to come, the 36 year old Derbyshire based rider may yet increase his 2019 tally on the KRT Ninja ZX-10RR.
In a career that has spanned over 20 years of top-level international competition, Leon has an enviable WorldSBK record, both with Kawasaki and no fewer than five other manufacturers.
All at Kawasaki and KRT wish Leon the very best of good fortune in his future career.
Guim Roda (KRT Team Manager): “KRT and KHI welcomed Leon into the team after a nine year period with Tom Sykes. It was an ideal chance for him to regain experience inside the WorldSBK paddock and an incentive after winning the British Superbike title plus previous success at the Suzuka 8-Hours.
“A primary target for 2019 was for Leon to experience the KRT way of working and to take his race rhythm and performance to a new level with goals like competing at Suzuka as a tempting prospect. Winning the 2019 8 Hours race with Jonathan Rea after a 25 year gap for Kawasaki was certainly an incredible achievement alongside regular top five placings in WorldSBK including several podium visits.
“To achieve all of this despite being away from WorldSBK for three years is testament to Leon’s skill as a rider – especially as he has endured injuries this year, many of which have not been apparent and have certainly not hindered his hunger for success. It is my hope that Leon can stay within the Kawasaki family for 2020 and use his KRT experience on factory Ninja machinery to achieve yet more success as well as competing again at the Suzuka 8-Hours. Everyone at KRT wishes Leon well for the future”.
Steve Guttridge (Kawasaki Europe Racing Manager): “It is fitting that the 2018 British Superbike Champion should follow that success with a season at KRT.
We at Kawasaki are proud of his achievements on Ninja machinery and wish him all the very best in the next phase of an incredible career”.