Leon Haslam says he is open to taking a sabbatical in 2016 as uncertainty continues to surround Aprilia’s future involvement in World Superbikes.
Haslam finished his 2015 campaign on a high last weekend at Qatar with victory in a thrilling last race, pipping Ducati’s Chaz Davies in a battle that went down to the final corner of the final lap.
It completed a double victory for Aprilia as Haslam’s teammate Jordi Torres took a maiden WSBK win in the opening race, but the Italian marque’s 2016 plans remain unclear.
After taking the title with Sylvain Guintoli in 2014, Aprilia was set to exit the production-based series altogether as it restarted its MotoGP operation, although a late deal was struck with the Red Devils team to run a semi-works effort for Haslam and Torres.
It is unknown whether Aprilia will continue to be represented in 2016, although Karel Abraham’s AB Motoracing squad has been linked to a switch from MotoGP to WSBK.
British Superbike team Shaun Muir Racing, which competed under the Milwaukee Yamaha banner and took Josh Brookes to the title this year, is also thought to be in the frame.
For Haslam’s part, while the 32-year-old says his preference is to remain aboard the Aprilia RSV4, he says he is open to a year on a satellite bike – or indeed a year on the sidelines – to further his title aspirations.
“Obviously I’d like to continue with Aprilia next season,” said Haslam. “The bike has enormous potential, the team has shown a lot of professionalism, but the homologation process made us late [this year].
“There are other options open to me but for now I prefer to wait. I want to be World Champion, and I want to take the right decision to achieve that.
“Suzuki will come back with a new bike in two years; it could mean missing a season or riding for a satellite team to show what I’m capable of.”
Haslam finished the year fourth in the points with two victories, with Torres one place behind with his sole Qatar win to his credit. Aprilia placed third in the manufacturers’ standings behind Kawasaki and Ducati.