DUCATI XEROX ROOKIE NORIYUKI HAGA TRIUMPHS IN RACE 1 AT PHILLIP ISLAND Phillip Island (Australia), Sunday 1st March: in a Race 1 that was declared wet but remained dry, Noriyuga Haga (Ducati Xerox) took his first victory on board his new Ducati...
DUCATI XEROX ROOKIE NORIYUKI HAGA TRIUMPHS IN RACE 1 AT PHILLIP ISLAND
Phillip Island (Australia), Sunday 1st March: in a Race 1 that was declared wet but remained dry, Noriyuga Haga (Ducati Xerox) took his first victory on board his new Ducati 1198 today at Phillip Island. Having started from thirteenth on the grid, Noriyuki made a blistering start in Race 1 and was immediately up among the front runners in second place by the end of the opening lap. He remained at the head of the pack for the rest of the race, battling for the lead against Suzuki's Max Neukirchner who eventually awarded the win to Noriyuki when he made a tiny mistake in the very final lap. The second race came close to being a repeat of the first for Noriyuki as another flying start moved him quickly up to fifth and then first by lap six. This time he had Yamaha's Spies to deal with and it was a close-run thing, with Noriyuki eventually forced to relinquish the win due to tyre-wear in the final stages.
Italian Ducati Xerox rider Michel Fabrizio also took home solid points from the first race of the 2009 season, battling against Brits Rea and Haslam and Australia's Corser, but just missing out on a podium spot and finishing in fourth. Race 2 saw Michel run a similar race, holding fourth place for most of the race before a tussle with Haslam and Laconi finally left him in fifth position at the race's conclusion.
After the opening round of the championship it is Noriyuki that tops the rider's classification sheets with 45 points, followed by Neukirchner and Haslam. Ducati is the leading constructor chased by Yamaha and Suzuki.
Noriyuki Haga (Race 1 winner; Race 2 - 2nd )
"My qualifying was not so good but in Race 1 my start was strong, and I started to fight with Max up at the front almost immediately. There was the possibility of rain so I started attacking right from the first lap. On the last lap Max got past me again but I kept trying and then on the last corner he made a mistake and I was able to pass him. In Race 2 I was again fighting, this time with Ben (Spies) but he was very fast and by the last five laps my rear tyre was finished, so I had to settle for second. I really enjoyed the race and I am very happy; my team has done a great job this weekend and I am feeling very comfortable on my 1198. A fantastic day, thanks to Ducati and thanks to the fans and I'm very happy that my move to Ducati brings my first win in the first race of the 2009 season."
Michel Fabrizio (Race 1 - 4th; Race 2 -- 5th)
"All in all, it hasn't gone so badly. Race 1 was the better of the two for me and the bike and tyres were performing fairly well, I just couldn't match the pace of Nori and the Suzukis in front of me. In Race 2 I began to suffer rear tyre-wear in the closing laps and couldn't hold my position ahead of Biaggi and Haslam. We saw today just how tough a championship this will be! Anyway I've taken some good points and now we move on to Qatar where I will aim to be on the podium."