Noriyuki Haga called upon his hallowed reputation as a World Superbike racer to score two useful results on his PATA Aprilia debut at Phillip Island.
The Japanese rider, this year embarking on a stint as a privateer contender following two seasons with Ducati Xerox, was placed a lowly 14th on the grid having barely featured during practice and provisional qualifying.
However, Haga shrugged off his row four starting position to twice feature amongst the front runners in both races, the 43-time race winner getting as high as seventh in race one and fourth in race two.
Tyre wear issues on the Aprilia RSV-4 on each occasion would eventually consign him to ninth and seventh respectively at the finish, but Haga was nonetheless pleased to show competitiveness over a long distance.
“I'm happy with the result of the two races. We have constantly grown and we can keep on doing it, thanks to an excellent technical package. Unfortunately we've been damaged during the second part of both the races due to some tyre's problems that didn't allow us to gain a bigger result.
“After some adjustments that the team did on the bike between round one and two, the tyre-lasting got better and I could fight for the firsts places almost until the chequered flag.
“I'm sure that the experience gained will turn out useful to show ourselves even stronger at the start of the second round of the season.”