(Mallory Park- 24th April)- Airwaves Ducati riders Gregorio Lavilla and Leon Haslam took similar rewards away from a dramatic day at Mallory Park today. Both riders secured a podium each from the two races and left the team satisfied with their performance following a crash strewn programme at the Leicestershire circuit. With 3 restarts across the two races, the team were made to work particularly hard for their results in difficult circumstances and will now be looking forward to even better results at Oulton Park next weekend.
In race one, 30-year-old Lavilla and Haslam both made positive starts and the Spaniard was lying in fourth place when he crashed out on the second lap at the notorious 100-mph-plus Gerard's Bend. Two laps later the race was red-flagged following a nasty crash by championship leader Kiyonari at Edwina's Chicane and after the restart, 21-year-old Leon Haslam was left to fly the flag for Airwaves Ducati. With a series of quick laps in the early stages, Leon worked his way up to third place and for the rest of the race, he was locked in a fascinating battle to keep his Ducati 999F04 ahead of Sean Emmett and Scott Smart, eventually taking the final spot on the podium by almost a second from Emmett.
In race two, the Airwaves Ducatis were again quick away from the grid and were lying fourth and fifth when a crash at the hairpin led to the safety car coming out. When normal racing resumed the race was further interrupted by a high speed crash by Hill and Beaumont, with a restart ordered by race officials. Both Haslam and Lavilla made good starts away from the grid once again and were well placed in the top five when oil was spilt on the track from Pensavale's machinery and the race was red flagged. With news filtering slowly through to the pit lane and several minutes of cleaning up required, the team were forced to make rapid decisions on both tyres and set ups and the final decision from race control was to send the riders out for a twelve lap race to the chequered flag. Starting from their positions when the race was stopped, Lavilla third and Haslam fifth, the pair were again in the thick of the action, swapping positions with each other and fighting the Kawasakis in particular right up to the flag. Both riders finished the race clocking super quick laps of mid 51s, leaving the team generally pleased with the rewards from their endeavours.
Team Manager, Colin Wright, was pleased with the teams performance: "this weekend has been hard work for all teams and competitors, Mallory Park has always been recognised as the friendly circuit! I think the championship has outgrown Mallory, it is now not big enough to cope with a BSB round. However, we are pleased to come away with another bundle of points and are looking forward to Oulton Park".
Leon was delighted to earn his first podium of the season in race one and followed that up with another good points finish in race two: "It has been a tough weekend, especially with all the restarts in the races. In race one I had a few problems but was running consistently quick and was pleased to get on the podium. We planned a few changes for race two but following the restarts we decided to change my tyres for the shortened twelve lap dash. I set my fastest lap on the final lap which has left my spirits high for next week. To take away a third and a fifth from the round is brilliant, especially with many of my favourite circuits still to come".
Gregorio understandably had mixed feelings about the two races: "This was a completely new experience and circuit type and nothing like I'm used to. Although I was not able to push quite as hard as I would have liked, I'm pleased to have ended up with another podium and I am looking forward to next weekend."
Airwaves Ducati riders now lie third and sixth in the Championship and the team are confident that they can improve those standings next weekend as the BSB series moves to Oulton Park.