The headlines this weekend may be all about Ben Spies, but it is Noriyuki Haga that continues to lead the World Superbike Championship standings in Qatar after managing a pair of second place finishes.
With three-time winner Spies still recovering from of his costly failure to score during the first WSBK race of the season in Australia, one win and three second places for Haga so far this season continue to keep the American at bay by ten points.
Enjoying his battles with Max Biaggi especially, Haga says he is ultimately pleased with his results at Losail, not least after a difficult start to the weekend that had him outside the top ten before Superpole.
However, Haga admits he couldn't match the ominous form of Spies, particularly in the latter stages of the races, after suffering a recurrence of the rear tyre problems that plagued the team earlier initially.
“I am very happy with today's results because we maintain the championship lead,” he saus. “Race one was a hard race for me, and I had to really fight hard with Ben and Max. In the first laps I was holding the pace with Max no problem but then I started to have rear tyre problems and it became harder to keep up.
“Ben passed us both and there was no way either of use could catch him; I enjoyed racing with Max but the closing laps were hard. Race 2 was almost the same, another race against Max. I held the lead for the first five laps with Max behind but then, as before, Ben took control and got away from us both.
“Anyway, good results and good points for us and thanks to my team for putting together a great bike after some initial difficulties on Thursday.”