Noriyuki Haga reminded everyone that he remains a World Superbike threat as he romped to his fifth and sixth win of the season at Vallelunga after a day spent fighting a rear-guard action.
Haga, who is set to be on his way to Xerox Ducati next season, was in fine form in both races as he resisted intense pressure from Max Biaggi in the first event, before prevailing in a hugely enjoyable fight with Troy Bayliss in the second.
Holding Biaggi off to the flag, Haga had to work even harder for victory in the second race as he and Bayliss swapped positions throughout. With the Yamaha's superb straight-line speed helping ahead just three laps from home, Bayliss eventually fell as he attempted to wrestle the place back off him.
Going a long way to making up for his disastrous Donington round, maximum points have hauled Haga up to third place in the rider standings, just ten points behind Corser, while he is still in with a faint chance of the title.
"I could hear Biaggi's bike all the way but my bike was working very well and I am very happy with the result,” he said. “In race two I had a very big fight with Troy Bayliss, and I am sorry for his crash. But I enjoyed our battle while it lasted.
“It was a great day today for our team and thanks to all the team and the fans for the reception. For sure we will be pushing hard at the next round, as we did at this one."
Yamaha Italia Team manager Massimo Meregalli was also delighted with Haga's 'magic weekend', while he also took time to praise Bayliss for the fair fight with his rider.
"Another great raceday after a strong weekend for our team, which shows how well we work. Noriyuki had another magic weekend and took full points. Our riders are second and third in the championship and it is not over yet. I am sorry for Troy Bayliss because he is a fantastic racer, and does not want to give up, but the championship is not closed yet."