Haga reveals tyre worries

Noriyuki Haga was keeping his emotions in check after claiming a provisional second position on the grid for the opening round of the 2009 World Superbike Championship, the Ducati rider instead focusing on his concerns over tyre longevity.

The Japanese rider, who is many people's tip for the title this season, is embarking on his first competitive weekend with the factory Xerox team and was in fine form straight away to snatch an early front row position.

However, despite his good form over a single lap, Haga admits he is worried that the typically high temperatures in Australia will create some tyre problems during the races.

“This morning we checked that everything was still ok after the tests and we modified one bike slightly, with good results. This afternoon I completed a long run of about fifteen laps but the tyres were a problem as they began to wear after a while because of course it was very hot.”

Indeed, while Haga was pleased with his performance during qualifying, he is certain that weather related factors will decide his fate in the races.

“The feeling I have with the bike is very good and so far I'm happy with my performance and with the bike's setting. We hope it will be cooler tomorrow and on Sunday and I should be able to improve on my qualifying times but I think that on Sunday everything will depend on the temperature, the weather and on the tyres…”

The weather is also playing on Michel Fabrizio's mind, the Italian admitting that Haga's comments about the tyres have raised some concerns for him.

“We tried the race tyre and set-up today and I would say that we are up to race pace. I went quite well on the same tyre that Nori was using and didn't have too much difficulty but, having said that, I didn't complete a long-run as he did and so I can't predict the tyre-wear if it were to be this hot for Sunday's races.

"Tomorrow morning should be cooler and so in the second qualifying I want to be faster. I still have tyres at my disposition and so I'm feeling quite confident about being able to achieve that goal in the morning.”

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Haga, Australian WSBK 2009
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