Kawasaki have confirmed that Leon Haslam will join Jonathan Rea in their WorldSBK team for 2019, replacing the departing Tom Sykes.
The move has been rumoured since the Donington Park round back in May but the clash between Sykes and Rea at Brno pretty much sealed the deal.
“I have to say a big thanks to Kawasaki for this opportunity. Returning to the World Superbike Championship is something I’m really looking forward to. After scoring race wins, lap records, pole positions and a championship runner-up position in my seven years there it’s going to be great to get back to WorldSBK,” said Haslam.
“The support of Kawasaki throughout my three years in the British Superbike Championship and via KHI at the Suzuka eight-Hours race has been exceptional. The like-minded approach from Kawasaki UK and KHI in Japan has been really appreciated and I’m now hoping to repay them with the 2018 British Superbike title and then to challenge for next year’s WorldSBK Championship.
“The 2019 season will throw up some new challenges as the competitiveness between the manufacturers continues to be at the highest level but I’m confident that with the professional and successful team behind me we can enjoy plenty of success.”
Haslam’s exit from BSB, more than likely as champion, leaves a hole in the JG Speedfit team which manager Jack Valentine will be keen to fill with a rider of similar mettle.