Leon Haslam rides through the pain barrier in WSB German drama
By: Tony Carter
Leon Haslam defied the pain barrier in Sunday's second Superbike World Championship race at the Nurburgring in Germany, taking a podium despite a dislocated right thumb and damaged knee ligaments.
The Team Suzuki Alstare rider crashed at the start of race one when he was highsided and it was fortunate that the race was red-flagged and he and the other fallers were able to make the restart. His bike was too badly damaged to take part in the restart, so he was forced to use his spare bike – one that he had only used for a handful of laps in practice and qualifying. The set-up and feel of the bike were different to that of his number one bike, but he rode superbly to take a very creditable sixth place. That was impressive enough, but in race two he surprised everybody with his grit, determination and fighting spirit to take third place.
Haslam said: "My crash in race one was a highside and I am sorry that it caused Troy to crash also. Luckily the race was stopped and everybody was able to have another go. I had hurt my right thumb and left knee and they were very sore, but I was determined to get out there and give my all. Once the race started, the adrenaline kicked in and I think I would've been much faster and more competitive if it had not been for the fact that I was on my number two bike. The mechanics weren't able to repair my number one bike in time for the restart. I had only done a few laps on the spare bike and so the set-up wasn't as good and it was that which prevented me challenging the front guys, not my injuries.
"The team repaired my number one bike in time for race two and I felt much happier. They and the Clinica Mobile staff did great jobs and it was thanks to both of them that I was able to get on the bike and take a podium. I'm sure I'm going to be pretty sore tonight and although I would've wanted a couple of wins today, I was happy to get on the podium and with 100 points possible in the next two rounds, anything can happen."
Race 1: 1 Jonathan Rea (GBR-Honda), 2 Carlos Checa (ESP-Ducati), 3 Cal Crutchlow (GBR-Yamaha), 4 Max Biaggi (ITA-Aprilia), 5 Tom Sykes (GBR-Kawasaki), 6 Leon Haslam (GBR-Suzuki). 8 Sylvain Guintoli (FRA-Suzuki).
Race 2: 1 Haga (JPN-Ducati), 2 Rea, 3 Haslam, 4 Crutchlow, 5 Biaggi, 6 Guintoli.
Points: 1 Biaggi 397, 2 Haslam 339, 3 Rea 288, 4 Checa 224, 5 Crutchlow 217, 6 Haga 202. 8 Guintoli 169.
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