Noriyuki Haga has revealed a collision with a bird was the reason why he dropped back at the start of the second World Superbike Championship race at Monza, while it also contributed to his eventual retirement.
Haga was looking to further extend his advantage in the standings over Ben Spies after finishing second in the opening race, but after taking the lead down to the first corner, a bird hit the Japanese rider's arm, causing him drop back to 15th by the end of the opening lap.
However, with the impact causing a loss of sensation in Haga's arm, he was struggling to get back up to speed before eventually crashing heavily at the Parabolica on lap three.
An unusual end to what was set to be another successful weekend for the runaway championship leader, Haga remains content with his 54 point buffer to Spies.
“Right at the start of Race two I was hit by a bird on my right arm; it hurt a lot and I lost all sensation, with strong pain and pins and needles in my right arm and hand. I tried to continue to race but it was too difficult to ride and as a result I unfortunately fell. Yes it hurts but I should be back in top shape very soon.
“Race one went much better for me of course and I really enjoyed the racing against Ben and Michel. I though at the end that I would surely end third but then Ben's bike stopped so close to the finish line and I finished in second as a result. I'm sorry for him as he deserved the win and this year me and him will continue to battle it out.
“Despite the Race 2 result I still hold a 54 point advantage and so I'm satisfied with that.”