Superpole To Haga

Paul Carruthers | October 4, 2008
Yamaha’s Noriyuki Haga made a few mistakes during his Superpole lap, the Japanese rider getting out of shape several times on his R1 – but he somehow made it work to claim pole position in the Superpole session at Magny Cours in France today. Oddly enough, it was Haga’s first pole of the year.

“The conditions this weekend not so good,” Haga said. “But that situation is the same for everybody.”

As fast qualifier from the earlier sessions, Haga went last in Superpole and when he did the time to beat had been set by Alstare Suzuki’s Fonsi Nieto, the Spaniard’s best performance to date. Then Haga went and, though ragged the entire way, he was able to lay down a 1:38.44 to beat Nieto by just .130 of a second.

“For sure the Superpole is not one of my good things, but I hope to stay in front tomorrow,” Nieto said. “The bike is good and we have to keep pushing forward.”

Ducati Xerox’s Troy Bayliss ended up third, .222 of a second behind Haga’s best, but ahead of Carlos Checa, the Spaniard completing row one on his Hannspree Ten Kate Honda.

“I’m pretty happy, the weather has finally come good,” Bayliss said. “I didn’t do a good job in the last chicane, but I’m happy to be on the front row.”

Row two will led by Robby Rolfo, the Italian the last rider within a second of Haga. Rolfo will be joined on row two by Alstare Suzuki’s Max Neukirchner, Yamaha-mounted David Checa and Sterilgarda Ducati’s Max Biaggi.

Yamaha Motor Italia’s Troy Corser – the King of Superpole – lost the front and crashed during his hot lap.


1. Noriyuki Haga (Yamaha) 1:38.444

2. Fonsi Nieto (Suzuki) 1:38.574

3. Troy Bayliss (Ducati) 1:38.666

4. Carlos Checa (Honda) 1:38.765

5. Roby Rolfo (Honda) 1:39.349

6. Max Neukirchner (Suzuki) 1:39.480

7. David Checa (Yamaha) 1:39.514

8. Max Biaggi (Ducati) 1:39.606

9. Michel Fabrizio (Ducati) 1:39.627

10. Lorenzo Lanzi (Ducati) 1:39.957

Paul Carruthers | Editor

Paul Carruthers took over as the editor of Cycle News in 1993 after serving as associate editor since starting his career at the publication in 1985. Carruthers has covered every facet of the sport in his near-28-year tenure at America's Daily Motorcycle News Source.