Haga being courted by Kawasaki?

With Chris Vermeulen already confirmed on one new ZX-10R, Haga, Sykes and Lascorz are in contention for the second.
As speculation mounts as to whether he will be retained by Ducati Xerox into 2011, Noriyuki Haga has reportedly received an offer from Kawasaki to join its factory team next season.

The 2009 runner-up was the hot favourite to win the 2010 title in his second season with the Ducati team, but on the weekend where he looks set to be officially eliminated from the running three rounds early, Haga is falling well short of expectations.

Both he and Michel Fabrizio have struggled at times on the 1198 against the developing Aprilia RSV-4 and invigorated Suzuka GSX-R1000, while Haga's reputation hasn't been helped by the fact he currently trails privateer Ducati rider Carlos Checa in the standings.

With this in mind, both Ducati seats are currently questionable, with former champion Colin Edwards increasingly tipped to take over from Haga as team leader.

While a return to Yamaha, who fought hard to retain Haga at the end of the 2008 season when it became apparent he was closing on a Ducati deal, is possible, is reporting that Kawasaki has got in there first with an offer.

Although it remains to be seen whether Haga would be interested in joining the manufacturer, which has struggled to make an impression in World Superbikes over the years, it would be a dream acquisition for Kawasaki for both technical and commercial reasons.

Still, Kawasaki itself isn't relying on Haga and has options as to who will join the currently crocked Chris Vermeulen's on the new ZX-10R. Tom Sykes has impressed on the bike this season, not least his fifth place finish at Monza, but Kawasaki Supersport star Joan Lascorz is also tipped to make a certain graduation to World Superbikes in 2011.

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July 30, 2010 9:59 AM

If Vermeulen gets a ride and Sykes doesn't, it'll be criminal. I love Haga and maybe he'd be worth it in a developmental capacity, but I'm unsure he's the best fit as a racer anymore. Both Sykes and Lascorz deserve a chance next year. If they're really serious about wanting to win in WSBK, it wouldn't hurt to have a quasi-works 'junior' team - having three or four factory spec ZX10s racing every weekend would help development no end...

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