British Superbike Championship leader Leon Haslam will stay with Kawasaki for 2018, remaining with his Bournemouth Kawasaki run JG Speedfit squad in the domestic series.
The popular 34-year-old was being courted by world superbike teams, but decided to remain in the UK, where he should again have a package capable of fighting for the title. The Carole Nash backed star leads the 2017 series by 22 points with two rounds and five races remaining and will again have a direct relationship with the Kawasaki factory, that should include bike development duties and a place in the company’s leading team at the prestigious Suzuka Eight Hour endurance race.
Leon was heavily linked with a move to the Italian run Puccetti Kawasaki squad in the world series, a team which he scored a podium finish with in a one-off appearance earlier this year, but with the supported team unlikely to be able to provide equipment able to consistently challenge the factory bikes of Tom Sykes and Jonathan Rea, the former Grand Prix racer has elected for a third successive season in the domestic series.
He said: “I had some options to move to world level with Kawasaki but it was an easy decision to stay in BSB with Kawasaki and continue the project we started upon because I not only want to win the championship this year but next year as well. Also the work I do with Kawasaki Japan, like the Suzuka Eight Hours where we managed to get a second place, is all quite exciting and fun, and it’s fantastic to renew that and continue my relationship with Kawasaki in that respect.”
Haslam will again be joined by Luke Mossey in the JG Speedfit squad. The Cambridgeshire rider was an early season front runner but missed out on a place in the title deciding showdown through injury. Speaking of their rider selection, Kawasaki’s Ross Burridge added “Despite some big crashes, injuries and a lot of drama, 2017 has been a great year for Team Green in the superbike class. I am personally delighted that Leon and Luke have both re-signed to compete on the Ninja ZX-10RR for 2018 and we will be collectively gunning from the outset to ensure both riders are in the showdown and ultimately that we take the title. We still have a lot to do to make sure we are on top come Brands Hatch this year but I am very excited about what the new season will bring.”
The penultimate race weekend of the 2017 British Superbike Championship takes place in Assen, The Netherlands, this weekend, with a title deciding triple header taking place at Brands Hatch two weeks later.