Haslam recovers to take podium place

Smalley’s Leon Haslam returned to the World Superbikes podium with a third place finish at Portimao in Portugal at the weekend.

That success came in race two after Haslam had crashed out of race one meaning he only secured 12th place.

In the end Haslam finished the Portuguese weekend brilliantly on his Aprilia RSV4 RF, his podium just reward for the hard work done by Aprilia Racing - Red Devils and the determination of the English rider, still struggling with rib pain from his accident at Imola.

In the first race Haslam was comfortably managing fourth place before the rains came in the 15th lap and forced all the riders to change tyres.

Coming back out of the pit lane, Haslam had a bad slide in turn five, slipping on the treacherous asphalt. He got back on the bike and finished in 12th place.

Starting race two with severe pain in his side, aggravated by the crash in race one, Haslam struggled for the first few laps and then found a good race pace.

The Derbyshire rider moved steadily up into third position and he was gaining on Davide Giugliano who was in second place when the chequered flag came out.

Haslam said: “I made a bad mistake in race one, sliding on the wet asphalt and making my ribs worse.

“In the second race, on the other hand, I lost too much time at the beginning, missing a couple of gear changes, and losing touch with the leading group.

“In the middle section of the race I had some good pace and was able to move up a few positions to third place.

“When I had started catching up Giugliano I began to lose my feeling with the front. I was about a second behind but the race was over at that point.

“Getting onto the podium was important both for me and for the team considering how hard the guys worked this weekend.”