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May 22, 2013

Medical Exam Thursday At Donington Park Will Determine If Haslam Will Ride Or Not

eni FIM Superbike World Championship: Leon Haslam (91).
Pata Honda team heads to Donington

The Pata Honda team will reconvene in the UK this week for the upcoming fifth round of the 2013 World Superbike championship event at Donington Park on 24-26 May.

After the long straights of Monza in Italy at the last round, the team is confident that Donington’s 4.023 kilometres of undulation and its tighter characteristics will allow the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade to maximise the potential of its nimble chassis and the recent advances made in the bike’s new-for-2013 electronics package.

Jonathan Rea took fourth place in race-one at Donington last season and followed it up with a victory in the second outing and, with recent developments concentrating on his machine’s corner exit and acceleration, he is optimistic for the coming weekend.

The 26-year-old from Northern Ireland is keen to get back on to the podium that he visited for the first time this season at Assen in The Netherlands at the end of April.

His Pata Honda team-mate, Leon Haslam, left Assen early after breaking his leg in a Friday morning practice crash and had a pin inserted in his tibia in an operation performed in the UK the day after he arrived home – just over three weeks ago.

Since then, Haslam, who will celebrate his 30th birthday next Friday 31st May, has worked tirelessly and undergone intensive treatment and therapy in bid to be fit to ride at Donington, which lies just 25km from his UK home. He will undergo a medical examination at the circuit on Thursday.

Jonathan Rea

Donington has always been an exciting track for me and, being the first home round of the year, it’s always special to ride with friends and family there in support. Of course, the weather can sometimes be a little unfriendly, so I’m hoping it’ll stay dry for the weekend because I think Donington can be a strong circuit for us. It will be a really good opportunity to try to exploit the positive aspects of the bike. Of course, we’ll work hard through the practice and qualifying sessions to try and get a good grid position for Sunday, but I’m feeling optimistic.

Leon Haslam

It’s just over three weeks since I broke my leg at Assen and, while that might not seem very long, it feels like ages to me. Since the operation to pin the leg, I’ve been doing everything I can to get it ready to get back on the bike. I’ve got to pass a medical of course, and then see how it feels on the bike, but at the moment I’m aiming to ride. Donington is my home race, so it’s a really special event for me and I know the circuit pretty well. I got a couple of good results on a private CBR at Donington in 2009 and could’ve had a couple of wins last year, so I’ll continue doing everything I can to get on the bike on Friday and see how it goes.

Pieter Breddels – technical co-ordinator

We’re looking forward, hopefully, to welcoming Leon back to the bike this weekend for his home round at Donington Park. Whatever Leon’s condition, it’ll be good to see him back with the team. Of course, with Jonathan, we will be looking to move things forward again following Monza. Despite the final results there, the performance of Jonathan and the CBR was impressive, considering we expected it would not be a great circuit for us. We’ve improved the bike a lot since the beginning of the year and I think we can aim for the Donington podium this weekend.