The pretense is now officially over. First reported here on MotoMatters.com by vigilant reader over two weeks ago, Leon Haslam's contract with BMW has finally been officially confirmed by the Munich-based manufacturer. The first part of the move was Haslam officially being released from his contract by Francis Batta at Alstare Suzuki - an inevitability given Suzuki's apparent lack of interest in racing - leaving the Derby-based rider - and son of legend "Rocket" Ron Haslam - free to announce the contract he had signed with BMW previously. The agreement sees Haslam lined up alongside Troy Corser for 2011.
Below is the text of the press release from BMW:
Leon Haslam will line up alongside Troy Corser for BMW Motorrad Motorsport in 2011.
Munich/Stephanskirchen, 28 September 2010. BMW Motorrad Motorsport's rider line-up for the 2011 season in the FIM Superbike World Championship is now complete. Riding the second BMW S 1000 RR for the Munich and Stephanskirchen-based team alongside double world champion Troy Corser (38) will be Briton Leon Haslam (27).
"We're extremely excited about working with Troy and Leon," says BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director Berthold Hauser. "This rider pairing brings together a wealth of expertise and youthful fighting spirit. We're very pleased to have not only a double world champion in our team for next year, but also the runner-up in the 2010 World Championship. It's just the right combination for our recently formed team at this stage of the project." And Hauser adds: "We've been monitoring Leon for a long time now and have been more than impressed by his strengths as a rider. We're extremely happy to be able to welcome him into our team. We have a strong pair of riders in Troy and Leon and are in no doubt that we'll be able to achieve our ambitious aims with them on board. We would also like to thank Ruben Xaus, who over the last two years has helped to take the team to where it is today. We wish him all the best for the future."
Leon Haslam is looking forward to racing for BMW Motorrad. I've watched the progress of the BMW S1000RR in the past two seasons and the almost constant improvement of the machine has been very impressive. I'm very much looking forward to riding the machine and experiencing for myself what I've been watching. The team has shown the potential to win and the team has the factory support required so I'm hopeful that I can add the extra little bit that is needed to win. I'm really grateful to BMW for showing such faith in me and patience during difficult times and we're looking forward together now for a successful 2011."
Leon Haslam profile:
|Date of birth:||31st May 1983|
|Place of birth:||Smalley/Derbyshire (GBR)|
|Hobbies:||Golf, wakeboarding, mountain-biking|
|Passion:||My family, motor racing|
|Favourite circuits:||Phillip Island, Assen, Silverstone|
|First bike:||Honda QR 50|
|First race:||1987, Argentina, 50cc class|
|2006/2008:||2nd in British Superbike Championship|
|2010:||WSBK, Kyalami (RSA), Race 2|
|2010:||Currently 2nd in the WSBK riders' standings|
|WSBK history:||82 races, 19 podiums, 3 wins, 9 second places and 7 third places, 1 pole position, 2 fastest race laps|