British Superbike Championship star Noriyuki Haga will start the 2012 Doha 8 Hours endurance event from the front row after qualifying second for Yamaha.
The Japanese rider, who is also gearing up for his return to the Suzuka 8 Hours event this year, is participating in the annual Qatar round of the FIM World Endurance Championship for the successful Yamaha Austria Racing Team alongside Gwen Giabbani and Igor Jerman.
Though his effort of 2mins 00.560secs was actually the quickest individual lap time of the day, the team overall were unable to deny the front-running BMW Motorrad France team of Sebastien Gimbert, Damian Cudlin and Erwan Nigon.
Haga isn't the only BSB rider getting a shot at endurance racing this weekend, with Samsung Honda's BSB rider Michael Laverty, Superstock rider Jason O'Halloran and former BSB champion Ryuichi Kiyonari assuming duties at Honda TT Legends in the absence of John McGuinness, Cameron Donald and Simon Andrews, who have been competing on the Isle of Man this week.
Going on to qualify in eighth position, the team could have expected to start higher on the grid had lead rider Kiyonari not had his attention diverted back home where his wife had gone into labour during the session. Fortunately, a little girl named Senna Kiyonari would arrive in the world with no issue, much to the delight of proud father Ryuichi.
“I am very happy and relieved that my new baby girl was delivered without any issue. I can't wait to get back and see her but I have a job to do here first.”