Noriyuki Haga has launched himself back into World Superbike contention after a stunning last gasp victory during the second race of the day in Valencia.
Shrugging off his fairly distant fifth place finish during the first race, changes to the Ducati Xerox ahead of race two transformed Haga into a victory contender, the Japanese rider already up to fifth from 11th when the red flags were deployed on lap three.
Using his better starting position to good effect at the restart, although Haga was not in contention with the lead group initially, strong mid-race pace saw him catch and pass Max Biaggi
and Carlos Checa
before he pulled out a gap to assume the lead on aggregate with seven laps remaining.
Despite Biaggi and Checa's best efforts, Haga held onto his advantage to the chequered flag as he completed his first race win since Magny-Cours last season.
“I like Valencia a lot,” he said. “I am Mr Valencia! Before the red flag in race two I made a good start and was in fifth position. During the restart I started from fifth and I kept a good pace.
“It was not easy to catch and pass the top two riders but in the last few laps I pushed hard and took the win. I was not thinking about the time difference I just knew I had to go at the front.”
“I'm very happy to have been able to win today. I thank my team, Ducati of course, and all the sponsors who helped contribute to this great result.”
Haga's results mean he is now fourth in the overall standings, albeit still 44 points adrift of Leon Haslam and a point behind Ducati counterpart Carlos Checa.