CURRENT CHAMPIONSHIP LEADER HAGA (DUCATI XEROX) CONFIDENT AHEAD OF ROUND 4 AT ASSEN'S HISTORIC TT CIRCUIT Assen (The Netherlands), Monday 20th April: after three World Superbike rounds, and with an advantage of forty points in both the rider's...
CURRENT CHAMPIONSHIP LEADER HAGA (DUCATI XEROX) CONFIDENT AHEAD OF ROUND 4 AT ASSEN'S HISTORIC TT CIRCUIT
Assen (The Netherlands), Monday 20th April: after three World Superbike rounds, and with an advantage of forty points in both the rider's and constructor's classifications, the Ducati Xerox Team will travel to the TT Circuit of Assen this week in a very positive frame of mind.
The two Ducati factory riders, Noriyuki Haga and Michel Fabrizio, currently lie in first and fourth place respectively in the riders classification, thanks to the collection of podium places that they have accumulated in the opening rounds. 2009 has seen Noriyuki's best ever start to a season, powering his Ducati 1198 to three wins and three second place finishes in the first six races, to take 135 of the 150 available points. The latest Valencia race weekend brought the Ducati Xerox Team a swathe of points with Nitro-Nori doing the double and Michel backing up this success with a worthy second and third place finish.
Having completed two successful days of testing at Monza since leaving Valencia, both Noriyuki and Michel are feeling confident as they enter into Round 4 of the fourteen-round world series. A track that has rewarded the Ducati Xerox Team, Noriyuki and Michel with trophies in the past, the TT Circuit of Assen, redesigned in 2002, always provides the fans with spectacular racing, whatever the weather!
Noriyuki Haga (1st in championship, 135 points)
Although Nori won a race at Assen back in 2000, since then he has tended to either step up to the podium, finishing in second or third place on a host of occasions, or not finish the races at all, with four DNFs recorded in the six most recent races.
"Assen - it's a tricky circuit. I preferred the old layout of the track, like most people, but don't dislike the new version. My history there has been rocky, up and down to say the least! I'm looking forward to riding this track on the 1198, it should be interesting. We know that the Ducati performs there as Troy won both races last year, we had a good fight in Race 2 I recall, and so it should be another good weekend; Checa and Neukirchner went well there last year and they, as well as Spies and I, are likely to be running at the front, so we should see more great racing."
Michel Fabrizio (4th in championship, 60 points)
Michel has been on the Dutch podium in 2005 and 2006 but had less success in the last two years. Last year a persistent pain in his forearm prevented him from performing as he had hoped, something he plans to set to rights now that he is once again in good health.
"I like the track and I have had some relatively successful weekends there. Unfortunately last year was not one of those times and I had a disastrous weekend, problems with my arm led to two DNFs, a race day to forget! I'm feeling really fit and healthy now so I'm ready to fight with the frontrunners for the podium spots at Assen this season; I need to consolidate, or better, improve on, my current position in the standings as Nori and Spies are already a long way ahead of the rest of the pack."