Noriyuki Haga's hopes of getting embroiled in this year's World Superbike title hunt are continuing to slip away after handling problems prevented him from finishing any higher than sixth at Monza.

The Japanese rider left himself with a lot of work to do after qualifying down in 16th position and before being beaten to tenth in the first race when he was overtaken by Sylvain Guintoli on the final lap.

Nonetheless, a better start in race two enabled Haga to avoid the first turn carnage and run as high as fifth, although grip problems would eventually see him beaten to the line by Kawasaki's Tom Sykes.

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"In both races I was having a lot of difficulty turning the bike and didn't have enough grip at the rear. In race one I was having to put it right down on its side to get it to turn as I wanted and this of course meant that I couldn't keep pace with those ahead of me.

"We changed a few things before race two and improved the situation a little. Grip was good in the first five laps or so but from mid-race it was really hard, as the bike was drifting wide and was hard to control. In the end I'm quite satisfied with sixth position, as it was tough here this weekend."

Ducati Xerox went into the weekend eager to show they had turned a corner following a positive test at Misano, but while Michel Fabrizio qualified third, he could only manage seventh in the first race before falling in the second.

"Race one was going quite well; it's only a shame that we don't have the top speed to be able to stick with the guys on the straight, with more engine power I could have done a lot better. In race two I ran off when those guys crashed at the first chicane of the first lap and I tried to keep riding but I couldn't get the bike into gear, and then I slipped.

"It was tough out there today but at least we take home some valuable points and hope that things go better at Kyalami."