Leon Haslam tells Full Throttle podcast he can challenge Jonathan Rea
Leon Haslam has told the Eurosport Full Throttle podcast he sees no reason why he shouldn’t be able to challenge Jonathan Rea for next year’s World Superbike title.
In 2019, after a three-year spell in the British Superbike Championship culminating in a glorious title win this season, Haslam will return to the World Championship where he will partner four-time World Champion Rea in the Kawasaki Racing Team.
"I wanted to make a home in England and win championships there. From the very first test I knew that the speed and capability were there, but it was a big step backwards in what I was used to. We had a fantastic opportunity but, with the general level of the teams, the control ECU and no electronic aids, it was a massive culture shock."
Haslam and Rea have already been World Superbike team-mates as they shared a garage at Pata Honda in 2013 and 2014. They also teamed up for this year’s Suzuka 8 Hours with Kawasaki, finishing third behind the leading Yamaha and Honda bikes.
Looking ahead to 2019, 35-year-old Haslam continues:
" If you think another rider is better than you, you shouldn’t be racing. "
"At the end of the day, we all have two arms and two legs. I have now raced with Jonathan for 14 years. I have beaten him in many championships and many races, while he has done the same with me. Of all the riders we have probably had the most battles together, which has been nice. We have been able to remain friends through it all.
"The fact we are on the same bike and that I know most of the circuits means there is no reason in my mind that I can’t go there and push straight away. At the same time, I’m going up against Jonathan when he’s at his best; he has been with the team for four years and won four world titles. His record speaks for itself. That is where I need to get to and I don’t think it’s too far away."
The exclusive interview with Leon Haslam will be available in Episode 30 of the Eurosport Full Throttle bikes podcast, available from Monday 22nd October on the Eurosport website, iTunes and Spotify.