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Renegade: Engine failures robbed Haga.

That led to the subject of Renegade's 2005 rider line-up, with Haga having been widely tipped to be join Yamaha Italia next season. However, whilst aware of the Yamaha interest, Griffiths explained that - at present - the Japanese remains under contract and his team has first refusal on Haga's services.

"Obviously Yamaha Europe are pinning their hopes on signing Noriyuki to spearhead their R1 attack on the championship next season, and I think they're a pretty long way down the road in negotiating with him," said Griffiths.

"But the fact of the matter is that we still hold Noriyuki's contract until the 31st of December and on top of that we have an option to re-sign him for 2005. He is very much a Renegade rider at the present time and until things happen to spoil that, he will continue to be a Renegade rider as far as I'm concerned," he revealed.

"But certainly the interest from Yamaha is considerable. Noriyuki is quite interested in riding their bike and clearly from our side if he wants to ride a Yamaha R1 and he has his heart set on that there's no point us holding a pistol to his head to try and make things any different. So all I can say, at this time, is that Noriyuki is still a Renegade rider until I tell him differently," stated the Briton.

Meanwhile, Haslam's future has been decided - he will leave Renegade to join GSE Ducati in British Superbikes in 2005 - a move Mark sees as more of a temporary absence.

"We have agreed to release (Haslam) to GSE next season… We wish him all the best with that. We're still very, very close to him and still having a lot to do with each other - and that won't change," he explained. "Leon Haslam is very much part of our thinking in the future and although he will be with GSE in 2005, but we see that very much as we're loaning him to GSE as opposed to ending his career with Renegade."

Griffiths is currently considering Ducati and Honda machinery for next season, and has had interest from MotoGP, WSBK and AMA Superbike riders.

The full interview with Mark Griffiths can be found in the Crash.net radio archive...


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