WSBK »

Haga celebrates debut 1198 win

Despite suffering during the new knockout Superpole system, which left him just 13th on the grid, Noriyuki Haga emerged from his first weekend as a Ducati Xerox rider with 1-2 race results and the 2009 World Superbike Championship lead.

Haga, who had apologised to his fans team after qualifying, made his grid position irrelevant with a storming start to race one; the Japanese star sitting second by the end of the opening lap.

Main rival and pole sitter Ben Spies ran off track on the same lap, but Haga soon found himself facing a less expected rival in the form of Alstare Suzuki's Max Neukirchner.

The pair battled fiercely for the rest of the race - the GSX-R gapping the 1198 on the straights, but losing ground through the corners - and Max took the lead back from Haga as the last lap began.

Haga looked short of options, but kept pressure on the German and a 'moment' for Neukirchner on the approach to MG allowed Haga to dive back ahead. Neukirchner regrouped, and was gaining quickly on the #41 as they raced to the line, but a delighted Haga held on by just 0.032sec.

“My qualifying was not so good but in race one my start was strong, and I started to fight with Max up at the front almost immediately,” recalled Haga. “There was the possibility of rain so I started attacking right from the first lap. On the last lap Max got past me again but I kept trying and then he made a mistake and I was able to pass him.”

Neukirchner wasn't a factor in race two, but Spies - who took Haga's vacant Yamaha ride - certainly was. Haga and the American rookie disputed the lead for most of the race, before tyre-wear problems for Haga help Spies secure a debut victory by 1.2sec.

“In race two I was again fighting, this time with Ben [Spies] but he was very fast and by the last five laps my rear tyre was finished, so I had to settle for second,” said Haga. “I really enjoyed the race and I am very happy; my team has done a great job this weekend and I am feeling very comfortable on my 1198.”

After the opening round of the championship Haga tops the rider's classification with 45 points, followed by Neukirchner(30) and Leon Haslam (25). Spies sits fourth with 25 points.



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Haga, Australian WSBK 2009
Ducati pack up for long haul, Misano WSBK 2017
Ducati pack up, Misano WSBK 2017
Ducati pack up, Misano WSBK 2017
Ducati pack up, Misano WSBK 2017
Ducati pack up, Misano WSBK 2017
Ducati Panigale engine, Misano WSBK 2017
Ducati Panigale bikes, Misano WSBK 2017
Xavi Fores, Barni Ducati [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Marco Melandri, Aruba.it Racing Ducati [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Marco Melandri, Aruba.it Racing Ducati [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Chaz Davies, Aruba.it Racing Ducati [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Chaz Davies, Aruba.it Ducati [Credit: Ducati Media]
Ducati team, Race1, Imola WSBK 2017
Brembo calipers on Ducati, Thai WSBK 2017
Akrapovic on Ducati, Thai WSBK 2017
Ducati Panigale engine, Thai WSBK 2017
Ducati Panigale front end, Thai WSBK 2017

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.


Andrew Long

March 01, 2009 10:18 PM

It was alluded in the Eurosport commentary that Haga needs to rack up the points this year to win the championship rather than risk chucking his bike down the track to force a win. I think Spies will be his main competitor and Haga needs to be on top form to beat him.



© 1999 - 2017 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.