NORIYUKI HAGA (DUCATI XEROX) RUNS RINGS AROUND THE COMPETITION TO WIN RACE 2 IN GERMANY The Nurburgring (Germany), Sunday 4th September: Ducati Xerox factory rider Noriyuki Haga returned to winning ways today, with a stunning victory in Race 2...
NORIYUKI HAGA (DUCATI XEROX) RUNS RINGS AROUND THE COMPETITION TO WIN RACE 2 IN GERMANY
The Nurburgring (Germany), Sunday 4th September: Ducati Xerox factory rider Noriyuki Haga returned to winning ways today, with a stunning victory in Race 2 at the Nurburgring. Team-mate Michel Fabrizio was not so fortunate, forced to retire from both races.
The factory pair had made a determined start to race day, closing the early morning warm-up in second (Fabrizio) and third (Haga) position. The start of Race 1 did not go to plan however when Leon Haslam and Troy Corser fell at the first corner, causing a red flag and a restart of the race half an hour later, with riders reverting to their original grid positions. Noriyuki got away well, moving up to third place through the first corner. Quickly passing Carlos Checa on the privateer Ducati, the Japanese rider held second position until the end of the seventh lap when he unexpectedly lost the front of his machine. Unhurt, he hoped to be able to return to the track and returned to the box to fix a damaged handlebar but unfortunately damaged mufflers meant that it was too dangerous to continue and the team decided to retire.
Haga's team-mate Fabrizio was no luckier in the first race. Having lost a couple of positions at the start, he quickly made these back up, to find himself seventh after two laps. Unfortunately, however, during lap four, Michel too came off, losing the front; he managed to get back on the bike and was beginning to make up ground until throttle damage caused during the crash made it impossible to continue and forced the Italian rider to return to the garage.
Later in the afternoon and on a slightly warmer track, Race 2 got under way without interruptions. Haga again got off the line like a missile, projecting himself to second position at the first corner. He soon got past Carlos Checa to take the lead and, after Checa's unlucky crash a few laps later, the Japanese rider was able to gradually increase the gap between himself and Jonathan Rea (Honda), eventually crossing the line with more than three seconds of advantage to take the 43rd Superbike win of his career. Michel, caught up in traffic, lost ground and was in eleventh position at the end of the opening lap. Mid-race he began to suffer from vibration and lack of grip, a problem which led him to return to the garage for a rear tyre-change; in doing this the Italian rider lost valuable time and was unable to reach the points zone, closing in nineteenth position.
With this win, Noriyuki celebrates the 110th podium of his career, moving ahead of Carl Fogarty (109) in the all time standings. Only Troy Corser has seen more success with 129 podiums scored to date. Noriyuki is now sixth in the championship standings with 202 points, Michel tenth with 160. Ducati, having earned 45 points today thanks to Noriyuki's and Carlos Checa's results, is third in the manufacturers standings.
Noriyuki Haga (Race 1 -- DNF, Race 2 - winner) "First of all I want to say how happy I am to be back up here. After the Race 1 crash I went straight back to the garage in the hope that my technicians could adjust the bike so that I could continue but unfortunately there was too much damage to the mufflers and I had to stop there. We made some modifications to the front suspension and the bike behaved a lot better in Race 2. I maintained a strong pace for the entire race and was able to get the job done! I'm sorry for Carlos because it's always great to battle against him. Now I'd like to repeat this great result at Imola, Ducati's home track."
Michel Fabrizio (Race 1 -- DNF, Race 2 -- 19th) "A black day. In Race 1 I got straight back on the bike thinking that I could carry on and finish in the points zone. Then I realized that there was a problem with the throttle and, as I couldn't open or close the gas properly, I had to return to the garage. It's a pity because I was making up some ground before the crash and had good pace. Race 2 didn't go any better -- I had to come in to change the rear tyre but in doing that I lost too much ground and there wasn't anything I could do."