World Superbike Championship points leader Noriyuki Haga has revealed that he is hopeful of finding the set-up solution that will enable him to rediscover his winning ways of 2009 - but remains wary of the arm injury incurred at Monza last time out.
The Japanese rider goes into Sunday's Kyalami double-header with a 54-point lead over American rival Ben Spies, and only had his record of finishing inside the top two in each of the first eight races ended in Italy when he hit a bird at high-speed, causing a loss of sensation in his arm and eventually leading to a heavy crash. Still struggling with an arm that is far from fully healed, Haga appeared to be struggling through the early stages of the Kyalami weekend, before pulling out a gritty effort to land a front row spot for Sunday's double-header.
Having qualified for Superpole with eleventh place on the combined timesheets, the Ducati rider picked up the pace on qualifying tyres to snatch fourth place late in the final phase of the knock-out session, but admits that he is pinning his hopes on further modifications that he and the team hope will prove more advantageous in Sunday morning's warm-up.
"We've spent the day trying to solve the same issues that we suffered from yesterday, as the bike is still causing me problems on the uneven track surface," the veteran reported, "We still have more work to do in order to be competitive for the races.
"I managed to do some good laps in Superpole, but these were on a qualifier of course - which is totally different. Overall though, I am happy to be on the front row and I hope my arm doesn't hinder my performance too much over a race distance.”