DREAM DAY FOR DUCATI XEROX. A DOUBLE ONE-TWO FOR HAGA AND FABRIZIO AT KYALAMI TODAY Kyalami (South Africa) Sunday 17th May 2008: A dream finish to the Kyalami weekend for the Ducati Xerox Team, with Haga scoring a double win in today's races...
DREAM DAY FOR DUCATI XEROX. A DOUBLE ONE-TWO FOR HAGA AND FABRIZIO AT KYALAMI TODAY
Kyalami (South Africa) Sunday 17th May 2008: A dream finish to the Kyalami weekend for the Ducati Xerox Team, with Haga scoring a double win in today's races followed across the line by team-mate Fabrizio.
The two Ducati Xerox riders on their 1198 machines got away to a cracking start in the first race and held first and second place for almost the entire race distance. For the first eleven laps it was Michel in the lead just ahead of Noriyuki and Ben Spies, until the Italian made a very small error and gave his team-mate Noriyuki the opportunity to pass. Lap by lap, Noriyuki then gradually built up a gap, leaving Michel and Spies to battle it out for second. Michel, the most consistently fast rider in the practice and qualifying sessions, finished a worthy second and also recorded the fastest lap of the race in the process with a 1m38.548.
In Race 2 Noriyuki again took off from the start line and led the 24-lap race from the offset. Michel meanwhile had to contend with Rea and then Spies in the opening laps before Spies suffered a technical failure, allowing the Italian to move into second position. The two Ducati Xerox riders then continued to increase their lead over the chasing pack, consisting of Rea, Haslam and Biaggi, who battled it out between themselves but were unable to make up what was by the end of the race an 8 second gap. Noriyuki took the win as well as the fastest lap of this second race (1m38.577) just a fraction of a second off Fabrizio's fastest lap in Race 1.
Noriyuki's arm injury, sustained last week in Monza's second race, did not prove to be a problem at Kyalami today.
Today's points boost moves Fabrizio up into second place in the classification, 85 points behind championship leader Haga (now holding 250 points) and 3 ahead of third-placed rider Spies. Ducati now holds 275 points in the constructors classification, leading the championship by 72 points over Yamaha.
Noriyuki Haga (Race 1 -- winner, Race 2 - winner)
"In the first race, having had some suspension problems during Friday and Saturday, I have to say I didn't expect to be able to keep pace with Michel and Ben. But I made a good start and tried to stick with Michel and then when he appeared to have a small problem, I made my move. My arm was not a problem at all during the racing. I must say I was very glad to see there are less birds here at Kyalami than at Monza! In Race 2 we made a small change to the setting of my bike and I felt more comfortable on it but I knew that Michel was close behind me and in the last laps my braking was suffering, so I had to hold on and am very happy to take another 50 points away with me today and again increase my advantage in the standings."
Michel Fabrizio (Race 1 -- 2nd, Race 2 -- 2nd)
"Race 1 turned into a great battle between myself and Ben, it's just a pity that the battle was for second and not first place. Once Nori got past us, he started to build a small gap and was going faster than me in the first split, which meant I couldn't catch him again. Then maybe I made a mistake telling Nori that I was going strong in the third split because in Race 2 that's where he really pushed hard and although I was giving it my all right until the end, it was Nori who took the win in the end but we had fun battling it out together. I've moved into second place with today's results though so this leaves me extremely satisfied and I look forward to the next race in Salt Lake."