Noriyuki Haga is eager to continue his fine start to the 2009 World Superbike Championship as the series heads to the Middle East for the second round of the season at Losail, Qatar.
Although renowned for his slow burning title challenges, a win and a second place finish at Phillip Island helped Haga to an almost perfect start to his latest campaign with the Ducati Xerox team, the Japanese rider taking an early lead in the standings.
Haga now arrives in Qatar keen to extend his advantage, particularly as his anticipated arch-rival Ben Spies will be seeing the circuit for the first time.
However, Haga's record at Losail hasn't always been favourable, scoring a best result of third place back in 2006 and finishing outside the top ten last season. Nonetheless, Haga expects to be fighting for victory once again this year.
“Well I can say that I'm very happy with how things went at the first races at Phillip Island and I'll be trying my best to have an equally successful weekend at Qatar. I am very pleased with the performance of the 1198 and my team have been fantastic so we'll be working hard to repeat our Phillip Island success.
“Each of the fourteen rounds will be a big challenge for me, and I will face each one in the same way, with the aim being always to win!”
Having failed to mount the podium in Australiia, Michel Fabrizio is also out to make amends in Qatar, even if it is a circuit that hasn't served him so well in the past either.
“To be honest I hoped to do better at Phillip Island but what I didn't do there I'll be trying to do at Qatar of course. I've had ups and downs at Losail and the last time I was on the podium was in 2005 so it's about time I stepped up there again!
“I'm in shape, I'm feeling comfortable on the 1198 and I'm ready to race. As long as we don't get the rain that the GP guys just experienced over there, then we'll be fine.”