Noriyuki Haga was content with his performance during provisional qualifying at Miller Motorsports Park after choosing to spend the day getting reacquainted with the circuit again.
Having broken his collarbone at the Utah venue in a practice accident last season, Haga confesses he doesn't remember so much about the twists and turns, so would use free practice and provisional qualifying to learn his way around again.
It meant he was left down in 11th position by the end of the day, almost a second behind pace setter Max Biaggi. Nonetheless, the championship leader remains unfazed, insisting he is happy with his showing so far.
"I am fairly happy for the moment. Obviously I was here for the first time last year but with the crash and having to race with a broken collarbone, I remember very little and so today I have got to grips with the track again and I have to say that I'm enjoying riding my 1198 here.
“In the last part of the qualifying session we tried a harder tyre compound but unfortunately it didn't allow me to improve my lap times, but despite this, I am feeling comfortable on the bike and we have time tomorrow to make further adjustments and pick up our performance.”
Faring better in fifth position, Ducati Xerox team-mate Michel Fabrizio is also confident of going faster, particularly after a problem that left him without a first gear.
“Towards the end of the session I had a problem with the gearbox and I couldn't put the bike into first so had to use second. Having said that, this is a track that I really like and we seem to be all set for tyres so if it hadn't been for that set back I'd have been able to lap much faster in the final stages I think. So we hope all goes well tomorrow morning and that I am able to improve my lap times.”