SMALLEY rider Leon Haslam finished fourth in both races of last Sunday’s second round of the World Superbike Championship at Donington Park.
Haslam led both races but endured contrasting fortunes on his way to the fourth place finishes and to retaining third place in the World Championship.
He led the opening 23-lap, 57.46-mile race for the first six circuits and was only pipped for a podium finish on the very last lap to cross the line fourth and add to his third and fifth place finishes in round one in Australia a month ago.
The Derbyshire rider hit the front once more in the second race of the day but then almost crashed on lap eight, running off the track and onto the grass at the right-hand Coppice corner.
He rejoined in ninth place and then fought his way through to an eventual fourth place finish.
“It’s not the sort of day I wanted but I’ll certainly take the points,” said Haslam. “After qualifying in second place I really felt that we were in with a chance of winning but it’s very early days for me and BMW and my expectations are maybe a little high at present.
“In the end I simply didn’t have the pace to win but the consistency is certainly starting to show now. In the second race I had a big highside at Coppice and went through the screen, cutting my neck, so I was pleased to see the chequered flag.”
World Championship points after two of 13 rounds: 1 Checa 91, 2 Melandri 72, 3 Haslam 53, 4 Biaggi 49, 5 Smrz 42, 6 Rea 38, 7 Camier 37, 8 Fabrizio 27, 9 Haga 26, 10 Sykes 19.
The next round is in Assen, Holland on April 15-17.