Noriyuki Haga's future in the World Superbike Championship has been assured after it was confirmed he will ride a privateer Aprilia RSV-4 under the PATA Racing banner in 2011.
The Japanese rider has been linked to several teams ever since his current Ducati employers revealed it would withdraw at the end of the 2010 season, but this official announcement confirms rumours that he has opted for an independent outfit.
The deal sees Haga switch to Aprilia machinery for next season, with the manufacturer set to provide PATA Racing – which has been established courtesy of a tie-up between DFX Corse and Borciani Racing – substantial factory support as a second-tier satellite operation.
A significant coup for both team principals Daniele Carli (DFX) and Marco Borciani (Borciani), they are delighted to have secured the services of the 43-time race winner and three-time WSBK runner-up.
“I'm really pleased to be able to announce the birth of this new collaboration and to return to working with Marco Borciani, who will take on the role of team manager,” said Carli, who has run Lorenzo Lanzi on a Ducati in 2010.
“We've got a factory-standard bike, and to ride it we wanted a rider whose qualities were undeniable – Noriyuki Haga, who has written important chapters in the history of World Superbikes. I would like to thank Ducati for everything they have done for us over the last few seasons in which we have worked together, and achieved strong results.”
“I'm renewing my working relationship with Daniele Carli, for whom I competed as a rider for three seasons – from 2002 to 2005 – when I achieved my best results in World Superbikes,” added Borciani. “He is somebody that I respect, and with whom I share the same way of understanding and reading races. The will on both of our sides to work together with Aprilia did the rest.
“We have decided to join forces to aim high. The sponsors who have supported me up to now, have also professed themselves happy to keep the faith in such a significant project.”
For Haga the deal marks a return to the Aprilia fold after he raced with the firm in 2002 and 2003, firstly in Superbikes and then in MotoGP. While his MotoGP tenure wasn't so successful, Haga did take Aprilia to fourth in the WSBK standings in 2002.
Though he is often reputed with having never won the WSBK title, Haga remains one of the most successful participants in the series' history having never finished lower than sixth overall in eleven attempts.