By Neil Morrison
Noriyuki Haga made his first racing appearance of the year at round seven of the World Superbike championship at Imola, his first on the world stage since 2011, and admits he aims to continue racing in the series.
However the 38-year old, whose record around the iconic Italian circuit includes five podium finishes, couldn't muster anything more than two 15th place finishes aboard Team Grillini's BMW.
After Saturday's qualifying session, where he set the 18th fastest time, he told Crash.net
, “Of course if I have another chance I want to race again.
“At the moment [there is] no other agreement yet [but] after the race weekend we will meet with the team for deciding any future opportunity.”
Haga had only completed a one-day test at Mugello with the team prior to the meeting and he felt only a lack of time on the bike had hindered his progress. He did however declare himself happy to be back amongst the World Superbike fraternity.
“[The] feeling is very good on the BMW but just missing is enough testing [time]. I'm very happy to come back to the SBK paddock because this space is like my home and there is many [of] my friends still working on.”
Quizzed on what he had been doing in the absence of racing during 2013 Nori said he had been keeping a low profile.
“There was nothing to do so some days I go to play golf and some days I go to the gym and relax.”
Sunday's races were the 313th and 314th of his World Superbike career. Only Troy Corser has started more in the history of the championship.
Haga is due to race alongside Yukio Kagayama and Kevin Schwantz in the Suzuka 8-hour race at the final weekend of July aboard a Suzuki GSX-R1000.