Noriyuki Haga has congratulated Troy Bayliss on becoming 'champion of the world' after the two legendary rivals shared the spoils in the penultimate World Superbike round at Magny-Cours.
Looking for wins seven and eight around a circuit he scored a double win at last season, Haga began his endeavour well with a dominant victory in the first race having dealt with Bayliss' brief assault in the early stages.
However, with Bayliss' title wrapped up, the Aussie came out fighting in the second race, particularly in the final few laps as he and Haga traded blows in the tussle for the win.
After swapping the lead on two occasions, Bayliss finally made the decisive move heading into Imola, leaving Haga no opportunity to respond. Nonetheless, the Japanese rider was not too disheartened, praising both Bayliss and his Yamaha team at the end of another successful weekend.
“The weather conditions have been not so good this weekend but the team gave me a good bike and I could compete well all weekend. I was riding comfortably at the front in race one to win so thanks to Yamaha and congratulations to Troy Bayliss, the champion of the world.
“Thanks to all in the team for all the hard work, and for the support from the fans. The last five laps of the second race I could not open the gas the way I wanted but Bayliss and I had a great fight for the win.”
A win and a second place also mean that Haga has moved ahead of team-mate Corser in the fight for second in the standings.