Leon Haslam fought tooth and nails to defend his 4th position against the red fury, Bautista, author of an incredible comeback after the error at the first turn. Unfortunately, there was nothing the British rider could do against the Spanish rider and the Italian 4-cylinder cavalry. "I can say we're used to that speed," said the Kawasaki rider, smiling.
A good result, however, would have helped because the team has not yet confirmed him for 2020. Leon, however, doesn't believe that this is essential to clarify his future.
"In my opinion, it's not a matter of performance. My team knows that it's my first season in the World Championship, that I had injuries, and that I'm not far from the podium," he explained . "My expectations are those of being in the top 3, and I know what my potential is. The decision on my future is not based on my results, but on other things."
At Portimano, however, the podium never seemed within his reach. Even if he was in the right place after the start.
"I was in a good position at the start of the race, with Davies and van der Mark," he confirmed. "But I made too many mistakes. I didn't have good sensations with the front, and I lost it many times, both in the first and in the third sector of the track. Chaz and Michael started pushing, I tried also, but I only ended up making more mistakes".
At that moment, Haslam realized that he would have to settle.
"I slowed down and started battling it out with Toprak. It was easy because I was within the limits, " he explained. "But we need to find better confidence with the front tire. I was really fast on the last lap, but Alvaro was better than me, especially on the straight."
Maybe tomorrow something will change for Leon but, in the meantime, the list of Her Majesty's riders continues to grow in SBK. Redding is the latest.
"I think it'll be interesting. Scott is fast, but I think asking him to win the title in the first year is too much" he underlined. " The fact that he passed from the BSB directly to an official team shows how good that championship is."
Leon knows the BSB well and knows what the difficulties are in moving from there to the World Championship.
"Scott has been riding for a long time in the MotoGP, so I think that, from an electronics point of view, it will be easier for him to adapt ," said Haslam. " But managing many things, including the tires, is very different between the BSB and the World Championship. There are no electronics there and the margin is small, and so are the circuits. If you're talented you can do well, as Scott has shown, even if he hasn't beaten any of my times!" He joked. "I think he'll be more at ease in the World Championship, but if he can win as soon as he arrives, we'll have to see”.
Audio recorded by Riccardo Guglielmetti