1 January 1901
Changing seats – WSBK season preview.
In the latest instalment of Crash.net's preview for the 2009 World Superbike Championship, we take a look at those that are seeking better fortunes with new teams in 2009…
Noriyuki Haga – Ducati Xerox
Will 2009 be the year of Noriyuki Haga?
The question crops up at the start of nearly every season and yet Haga continues to be haunted by the fact that he doesn't have a World Superbike crown to his name.
Haga has taken a proactive step to try and change that in 2009, by joining Ducati Xerox as a replacement for retired champion Troy Bayliss.
His motivation to join Ducati doesn't take much explaining, but having spent much of his career as a Yamaha rider, Haga's decision to defect still came as a surprise.
With 33 career wins to his name, including seven in 2008 alone, Haga is, along with former team-mate Troy Corser, the most decorated rider left in the series, and he is also on a championship winning bike. Naturally, the Japanese is an obvious favourite for this year's title,
Even so, many are waiting to see how he performs over the first few races before rushing to a judgement. Indeed, Haga can be renowned for his rollercoaster form, being superb one weekend and then nowhere the next. With the added element of a new team and bike to adapt to, success is expected, but by no means guaranteed.
His consistently quick - if not outstanding - form in testing is a promising indicator for Haga, although the amount of time he has been off the Ducati is equally notable.
So, is 2009 Haga's best ever chance to win the World Superbike title? It should be…
Troy Corser – BMW
Although not many were particularly surprised when Troy Corser confirmed he would be joining BMW's new World Superbike project, many did wonder whether he had made the right decision.
While his tenure at Yamaha didn't yield any wins, the runner-up spot in the 2008 standings nonetheless signalled an impressive return to form for the experienced Australian. It is a shame then that his time with the team will probably be best remembered for the fact he never stood on top of the podium.
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