Ducati Xerox's Noriyuki Haga is looking to continue his run of podiums as the World Superbike Championship ventures to Europe and the Circuit de la Comunitat Valenciana Ricardo Tormo for the first time this season.
Although one win and three second place finishes in the opening four races means he continues to lead the overall standings heading to Spain, Haga is under threat from Ben Spies, who closed the gap down to ten points with a pair of wins at Qatar.
Nonetheless, Haga is excited to be returning to Valencia, a circuit that traditionally suits the twin-cylinder Ducati, while he is also a three-time winner there, most recently last season.
“Valencia is one of my favourite tracks and I know I can go well there,” he said. “I like the layout, with its many tight corners. The Ducati was fast there last year with Troy and so I hope I can be back on the podium again this weekend with the 1198.
“Consistency is key this season and with the competition that we face, we need to make every single race count, taking as many as points as possible.”
After a pointless outing in Qatar, team-mate Michel Fabrizio is on the back foot heading to Spain, a circuit he says he enjoys, but hasn't served him well in the past.
“I was extremely disappointed to come away from Qatar without points, to have two DNFs in one weekend is a big set back when the competition is so tough this season,” the Italian, who has a best result of seventh at Valencia, said. “I have to rectify this with a strong performance at Valencia.
“I like the Spanish track, even if my results in recent years don't demonstrate this, and I feel fit and ready both physically and mentally, so I would say that I am quietly confident.”