World Superbike rider Leon Haslam will be trading in his Suzuki next year for a BMW S1000RR after signing on to compete for the BMW Motorrad squad in 2011.
surprise after the young Brit had a breakout year in World Superbike. He won the very first race of the season at Phillip Island, scored a couple of other race victories and currently sits second in the WSBK championship standings with 350 points.
At the time of his release it was unknown whether Suzuki would back a World Superbike team in 2011, but WorldSBK.com reported today that Suzuki will indeed partner with Team Alstare again in 2011 but will only field one rider. Who that rider will be remains to speculation, but one thing’s for sure – it won’t be Haslam.
He will be busy piloting the S1000RR for the factory BMW team. Haslam will be joining former World Superbike champion Troy Corser, who took the BMW team to new heights this year by landing on the podium twice, winning a Superpole and leading a couple of races. Corser has been with the team since its debut in 2009 and has been instrumental in developing the S1000RR into a podium contender.
Here’s the official press release courtesy of BMW:
BMW Motorad Motorsport’s rider line-up for the 2011 season in the FIM Superbike World Championship is now complete. Riding the second BMW S1000RR 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.”
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.”