Riding eight screws and a plate in his right collarbone, Yamaha Motor Italia’s Nori Haga took advantage of a late race mistake by Ducati Xerox’s Troy Bayliss to win the first World Superbike Championship race at the Nurburgring in Germany.
Haga and Bayliss broke free of a five-rider pack just before the halfway mark to set out on their own duel. The pair were the only two to lead the race, with Haga taking the lead on lap two and holding it until Bayliss came past on the 16th of 20 laps.
Bayliss was still leading on the 18th of 20 laps when he ran far too deep into the first corner. Haga held his line and nerve to sweep into the lead again.
What had been a .088 second lead for Bayliss became a deficit of 2.066 secs. Haga would win by 2.025 secs.
The win was Haga’s third in a feast or famine season. The Japanese rider broke his collarbone in three places during Saturday practice two weeks ago at Miller Motorsports Park (MMP). He was initially ruled out of both Superpole and the races. But after a quick trip to a local hospital, he defied conventional belief by riding in both Superpole and the races. Haga crashed in race one before rebounding for a heroic fifth in race two. Afterwards, he flew to California where his collarbone was plated and screwed by Dr. Arthur Ting.
With his 18th lap gaffe, Bayliss lost most of his gap on the third placed Max Neukirchner (Suz) But the German wasn’t able to take advantage and finished third, less than a second back.
Haga’s teammate Troy Corser was alone in fourth, well clear of the battle for fifth that went to the line. On the final lap MMP double winner Carlos Checa (Hon) passed Sterilgarda Go Eleven Ducati’s Ruben Xaus to take the spot. Xaus was sixth.
There was a gap before Ducati Xerox’ Michel Fabrizio Finished seventh.
The fight for eighth was waged among four riders. Alstare Suzuki’s Fonsi Nieto held back the challenge of PSG-1 Kawasaki Corse’s Makoto Tamada, D.F. Racing’s Karl Muggeridge (Hon), and Guandalini Racing by Grifon’s Jakub Smrz (Duc).
Alstare Suzuki’s Yukio Kagayama was unable to start on Sunday, after breaking the fourth metacarpal bone of his left hand in his Saturday fall.
Alto Evolution Honda’s Jason Pridmore crashed eight laps from the end.
1. Nori Haga (Yamaha)
2. Troy Bayliss (Ducati)
3. Max Neukirchner (Suzuki)
4. Troy Corser (Yamaha)
5. Carlos Checa (Honda)
6. Ruben Xaus (Ducati)
7. Michel Fabrizio (Ducati)
8. Fonsi Nieto (Suzuki)
9. Makoto Tamada (Kawasaki)
10. Karl Muggeridge (Honda)
DNF Jason Pridmore