Noriyuki Haga has vented his 'anger' at Jonathan Rea after their collision in the second race of the day at the Nurburgring forced him to hand over the World Superbike Championship lead to Ben Spies for the first time this season
The long-time championship leader, who has not been headed once this year, saw his advantage demolished by Spies when he was involved in an incident with Rea as they disputed the lead of race two.
Having overtaken the Ten Kate Honda at the tight hairpin on lap five, Haga ran slightly wide, prompting Rea to attempt re-taking him on the exit. However, as Haga returned to the racing line, he found Rea there and the pair made contact, sending the Ducati Xerox rider down.
With Rea going on to win the race, Haga was forced to retire, a result that means he is 18 points behind Spies in the overall standings. Although no action has been taken over the incident, Haga feels aggrieved to have lost ground.
“Before the second race, we made a small suspension modification and I had a better feeling with the rear as the race got underway; I think that would have been of benefit if I had reached the final stages of the race, but unfortunately, just I started to push to catch Checa, Rea came up fast on the straight and hit me.
“There was nothing I could do and I couldn't restart the bike. I'm angry as it is the second time this has happened; I guess the only consolation is that I'm not hurt.”
Rea, meanwhile, has apologised to Haga for the outcome of the collision, but maintains it was not intentional as he couldn't see him returning to his line.
“Haga ran quite wide and I went on the inside and, although I didn't see him I felt a big bang and only found out he crashed after the race. I'm sorry for that but don't think it was my fault and I wouldn't blame him.”
Earlier in the day, Haga had finished second behind Spies after losing out in a race-long battle, a performance he was also disappointed with.
“Ben got past me after ten laps and from that point on I did all I could to push everywhere so as to stay with him. I basically tried to overtake him everywhere and in some places I came close but in the end I had to settle for second. I am not so happy as I really thought I could win but Ben has a very strong bike here today.”