HAGA (DUCATI XEROX) RETURNS TO WINNING WAYS IN RACE 2 AT VALENCIA Valencia (Spain), Sunday 11th April: having scored a solid fifth place finish in Race 1, Noriyuki Haga triumphed in Race 2 (which ran in two parts), finishing 25 thousandths of a...
HAGA (DUCATI XEROX) RETURNS TO WINNING WAYS IN RACE 2 AT VALENCIA
Valencia (Spain), Sunday 11th April: having scored a solid fifth place finish in Race 1, Noriyuki Haga triumphed in Race 2 (which ran in two parts), finishing 25 thousandths of a second ahead of Carlos Checa. The win, on board his Ducati 1198, was far from easy as a red flag during the third lap led to a second heat, 20 laps in length. Michel Fabrizio was less lucky today, victim of a crash in the first race and returning to the box in Race 2, lamenting a lack of front brake consistency.
In the morning, during warm-up, Noriyuki had registered the fastest time (1m34.2), having completed a strong mini run. Michel concluded the brief session in eighth position.
In Race 1 neither Michel nor Nori made a particularly fast start and both were caught up in traffic. Michel made up a couple of positions but during the fifth lap, a lack of grip at the front, during braking, caused him to crash. Noriyuki pushed on despite a lack of rear traction and although he needed twelve laps before he could get past Crutchlow, the next lap he passed Rea and in four laps he had made up 1.5 seconds to catch Corser (BMW). Unfortunately however, after passing Troy at the final corner, the Australian again overtook Nori along the straight, leaving the Japanese rider in fifth position, just one tenth of a second behind Corser.
In Race 2, during the third lap a serious crash involving Andrews on the Kawasaki and Iannuzzo on the Honda led to a red flag. With all riders having completed three laps, the second heat was declared to be a 20-lap race and the grid was reset according to the results of "heat 1". Noriyuki, this time starting from fifth position started well and after a few laps was already third, behind Checa and Biaggi. After twelve laps he got past Carlos and then past Max and from this point on he held the lead, crossing the line 0.806 of a second ahead of Biaggi and 1.282 seconds in front of Checa. This advantage cancelled out Checa's advantage in the first heat and meant that Noriyuki had beaten the Spaniard by 0.025 of a second. Michel did not shine at the start of the race, losing a few positions in the first laps, only to recuperate a few in the following laps, before a problem with the front brake consistency caused him to lose confidence and return to the garage.
After this third round, Noriyuki Haga is in fourth position in the overall standings, with 79 points while his team-mate Michel lies in eighth, with 46 points. In the manufacturers standings, Ducati has 107 points behind Suzuki with 123 points.
Noriyuki Haga (Race 1 -- 5th , Race 2 -- winner)
"The track was a lot warmer in Race 1 than in the morning's warm-up and I was lacking rear grip. The more I pushed, the more my 1198 slid around and this needed to be fixed before Race 2. Before that race we made a change, reverting to the setting we'd used in the warm-up and it worked well. I was able to push hard, stick with Biaggi and Checa and eventually pass them. I'm very happy to have been able to win today. I thank my team, Ducati of course, and all the sponsors who helped contribute to this great result."
Michel Fabrizio (Race 1 -- DNF , Race 2 - DNF)
"It was a weekend to forget, we'll turn the page and concentrate on the next race. Today in Race 1 I had good pace and was able to make up a couple of positions very quickly, but then I unexpectedly lost the front and found myself on the ground. We made some changes for the second race but the front brake was not consistent and I came back to the garage."
Ernesto Marinelli -- Team Manager -- "Today's win is very important. We've experienced a difficult period but it is essential to keep fighting with determination, always, and this is what Noriyuki did today, and what the whole team has been doing since the start of the championship. We must continue to work hard and on Tuesday we will be back on track with Michel, at Mugello, to try to resolve the problems that have emerged in the last two races."