Kawasaki’s Leon Haslam didn’t bother with a qualifying tyre lap at the Portimao WorldSBK test, preferring to work on his race-tyre pace on the Pirelli SC0.
The Derby rider, who is not yet confirmed with the works team for 2020, found almost a quarter of a second over his best from testing at the Portugese venue earlier in the season.
“We had a lot of things to evaluate and we ended up - on race tyres - the second quickest to Jonathan. I was the only one who did not use a qualifier, an ‘SCX’ or a prototype tyre,” said Haslam.
“So race tyre-to-race tyre we were just a couple of tenths off where Jonathan was. We made a big step here and we were 0.7 seconds faster than we were in pre-season testing at Portimao, and in hotter conditions.
I felt we got through all our items and it was a really positive test. It shows me as sixth on the time sheets but that is purely down to others using a qualifying tyre.”
With qualifiers included, Haslam was sixth fastest on the combined timesheet and crew chief Marcel Duinker was pleased his rider was able to close in on Jonathan Rea.
“We have a happy rider and that is where it all starts from. The main target of this test was to prepare ourselves for race weekend,” he said.
“We had a test in January here and that was one of the first times Leon had jumped on this bike. Then, he was still discovering the character of this bike but this time we started from a different point.
“We improved the bike in quite a few areas and the most important thing is that his lap times are close to the top guy, plus he was fast and consistent.
“We used only the SC0 race tyre all through this test. Leon showed a very nice pace and we are very well prepared for the race weekend.”