Haga Does It!

Paul Carruthers | April 11, 2010

Ducati Xerox’s Noriyuki Haga showed that it may be a bit early to count him out of this year’s World Superbike Championship after a thrilling race-two victory over Althea Ducati’s Carlos Checa in a race that was red-flagged and scored using aggregate time at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit in Valencia, Spain.The win, Haga’s first of the season and the 42nd of his career, came on the track in the second segment of the race after the first part was stopped after just three laps when Simon Andrews and Vittorio Iannuzzo crashed together on the front straight.When the race was restarted it was a thriller from beginning to end with Haga, Checa and Aprilia’s Max Biaggi fighting it out on the racetrack and on the scoring monitor. At the conclusion it was Haga by .806 of a second over Biaggi with Checa .12 seconds behind. However, with Checa finishing .760 of a second ahead of Biaggi and 1.2 seconds ahead of Haga in the first portion of the restarted race, that moved Checa to second in aggregate scoring – just .025 of a second behind Haga. Biaggi was third on aggregate time – just .299 of a second behind Haga.Haga’s first win of the season came at the site of two of his eight victories from last year and it was his best finish since his third place in race one at Phillip Island in the series opener.Fourth place went to championship leader Leon Haslam, the Alstare Suzuki rider some 10 seconds behind on aggregate time and over two seconds ahead of fifth-placed Jonathan Rea on the Hannspree Ten Kate Honda. Rea was running second when the race was red-flagged.That meant the top four riders in the championship finished in the top four – but in reverse order compared to the standings. Haslam leads the title chase with 123 points, 17 points ahead of Biaggi. Checa is third with 80 points – just one better than Haga.Alstare Suzuki’s Sylvain Guintoli wound up sixth in the race with Sterilgarda Yamaha’s James Toseland not able to match his podium finish from race one. Toseland finished seventh, barely ahead of Athea Ducati’s Shane Byrne, who was fifth on track when the race ended – ahead of Rea, Toseland and Guintoli.

Sterilgarda Yamaha’s Cal Crutchlow finished ninth with Team Pata’s Jakub Smrz 10th. BMW’s Ruben Xaus topped his teammate Troy Corser on both aggregate time and on the track in the second segment.American Roger Lee Hayden ended up 19th after finishing 16th in the first race on the Pedercini Kawasaki.Aprilia’s Leon Camier crashed out while running near the front and Michel Fabrizio’s disastrous day in Spain also ended when he was forced to the pits in the second race after crashing out of race one. Fabrizio dropped all the way to eighth in the championship – 75 points behind Haslam.

Race Two

1.                  Noriyuki Haga (Ducati)

2.                  Carlos Checa (Ducati)

3.                  Max Biaggi (Aprilia)

4.                  Leon Haslam (Suzuki)

5.                  Jonathan Rea (Honda)

6.                  Sylvain Guintoli (Suzuki)

7.                  James Toseland (Yamaha)

8.                  Shane Byrne (Ducati)

9.                  Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha)

10.                  Jakub Smrz (Ducati)19. Roger Lee Hayden (Kawasaki)

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.