Airwaves Ducati Rider Leon Haslam produced a
sensational performance at Oulton Park today, taking his first victory of
the season for the team. He started the afternoon with a brilliant ride in
race one and followed it up with a win in race two. His team mate Gregorio
Lavilla experienced mixed fortunes, taking another second position in race
one but struggled to challenge the front of the field in race two. The team
now head to Ireland for round five in two weeks time.
Race one at Oulton Park saw the Airwaves Ducatis in the thick of the action
with both riders producing fantastic performances. For Haslam, a warm up lap
collision with Karl Harris led to a last minute dash to the pits with a
broken brake lever. Starting from the pit lane on his spare bike, he
proceeded to demonstrate immense skill and was up to 6th by lap 14. As he
reeled off a series of quick lap times, he closed in on the leading group
that included his team mate, who had worked his way up from the third row.
The Spaniard was locked in a three way battle for the podium and regularly
swapped places with Harris and the two Kawasakis. Lavilla finally won the
scrap on lap 13 and was able to pull away to take second at the chequered
flag. Haslam meanwhile pursued his team mate and attempted a brave move on
Harris on the final lap that would have secured third spot on the podium but he eventually had to settle for fourth.
Race two was equally memorable with a flurry of rain showers and difficult
decisions for the team over tyre choices. The race was declared wet and the
team sent both riders out on wet tyres, with the pair making good starts to
leave themselves fifth and sixth at the end of the first lap. From those
positions, their fortunes contrasted hugely with Haslam continuing where he
left off in race one to take his first victory of the year. On lap 4, Leon
set a fastest lap of 1:46.49s whilst in third position, ready to pounce on
Harris and Rutter. On lap 10, he made his move and then opened up a gap of
almost nine seconds from the pursuing pack. As the track dried, the wet
tyres started to trouble Haslam and he was forced to fend off Michael
Rutter, managing to triumph by 1.031s. Lavilla was struggling in the race
and, unable to push the 999F04, managed a disappointing sixteenth position.
Team Manager, Colin Wright, was understandably pleased with the team's
efforts and delighted to earn their first race victory of the year: "I knew
we would be quick at Oulton and I'm very happy for Leon for recording our
first race victory. We've also kept up our record of being on the podium at
every race. But it has been a day of contrasting emotions with Greg's
problems in race two. He lost the ability to push the bike and we were
frustrated by the weather conditions. However, Greg still lies second in the
Championship and we'll be looking to hold this position at Mondello Park in
two weeks time".
Leon was ecstatic at taking his maiden victory of 2005: "I was obviously
delighted with my podium last week at Mallory and now I'm even happier with
my results here. To win the second race was fantastic and I'm pleased I
showed such good pace in the first race following the warm up lap incident
with Karl. I was involved in some great racing out there, and I'm really
looking forward to continuing this run of results at Mondello".
Gregorio was disappointed with his race two result but looked at many
positives from the weekend: "Once again, I've come to a track I've never
raced and managed a podium and remain second in the championship. With the
changeable weather conditions throughout the weekend, we weren't able to
work on different set ups and that maybe showed a little bit in race two".