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WSBK Preview: Round 13 – Brands Hatch.

The news that Noriyuki Haga will not be attending this weekend's season finale at Brands Hatch has come as a blow to organisers and fans alike but fear not for there are plenty of other reasons to visit Kent this weekend.

Continuous rain may have large areas of South East England looking like one big paddling pool but there will be nowhere hotter than Brands Hatch on Sunday afternoon as the World Superbike season draws to a close.

Only on Thursday was Noriyuki Haga and his Yamaha team informed that their appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport against Haga's 45 point deduction and three week ban had been rejected and thus the Japanese rider will not be present this weekend.

Haga's absence means that Colin Edwards can finally celebrate his first World title as no other rider can catch him in the last two races of the season. However it is unlikely that Edwards will be allowed to let his hair down, as there are still many other contenders for victory this weekend.

With the riders Championship sorted out, the main burning issue is the destination of the Manufacturers title, currently led by Ducati although Honda can still snatch victory away from the Italian firm to give the Castrol sponsored team a clean sweep in 2000.

Edwards and Aaron Slight, who was informed this week that he will not be riding the VTR-1000 next year, need to score well in both races as Ducati have a 23 point lead at the top of the standings with only 50 points left to be won. Their task will be made even tougher with the arrival of Neil Hodgson on the INS Ducati and the English rider will add another weapon to Ducati's already numerically superior arsenal.

Newly crowned British Superbike Champion Hodgson and his INS GSE team will want to fire a final warning shot to the WSBK regulars before embarking on a full WSBK campaign next year. Hodgson has already won two races this year including a memorable triumph at Brands Hatch back in August where he totally decimated the field on his way to a convincing win.

Hodgson is not the only wildcard who poses a threat this weekend and Chris Walker, the man who lost the BSB Championship with less than four laps to go in the season finals at Donington Park last weekend, will be desperate to make up for his disappointment with a strong performance.

Walker and his National Tyres Suzuki team are another combination who are hoping to step up to the World stage next year and Chris has been a match for Hodgson throughout this season. The two English riders have been largely responsible for the growth of the BSB this year and, along with the two Red Bull Ducati's of James Haydon and John Reynolds, there are four potential British victors this weekend.




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Bayliss leads Chili and Haga

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