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Haga scores a double in rainy Germany

Bayliss leads by 39 at halfway point of 2008 season

By Motorcycle.Com Staff, Jun. 16, 2008
A broken collarbone couldn’t stop Noriyuki Haga from recording a pair of World Superbike wins at a rain-dampened Nürburgring circuit, June 15.

The Yamaha Motor Italia racer broke his collarbone in three places during practice on May 31 before the Superbike races at Miller Motorsports Park. After having a metal plate inserted to secure his collarbones last week, Haga was cleared to race at ‘the Ring’ in Nürburg, Germany.

“During the race the collarbone was no problem, just some muscle pain,” says Haga. “I want to thank Dr. Ting for the operation on my collarbone.”

Rain and hailstones delayed the start of race one by 20 minutes. Haga dueled with series leader Troy Bayliss for most of the race before the Ducati Xerox rider made a mistake on the 19th of 20 laps, allowing Haga to move ahead into the lead.

“After about two-thirds of race one I was doing everything I could to stay with him and although at one point I thought I might be able to take the win,” says Bayliss. “In the end Nori (Haga) won fair and square. My congratulations go to him, he rode a great race, bearing in mind he broke his collarbone just two weeks ago!”

The second race was stopped early as rain forced race officials to waved the red flag during lap 15. Haga’s teammate Troy Corser was in lead when the race was called but the win went to Haga who held the lead at the end of the previous lap.The 'Sultan of Slide', Noriyuki Haga returns to his winning ways just weeks after breaking his collarbone.

“With the weather conditions the way they were it was completely dry at the top, and it was raining down at the bottom for the last two laps before I put my hand up, it was getting wetter and wetter,” says Corser, who finished fourth in race one. “Although I wanted to win the race I just wanted to stay on the bike as well. Thanks to the boys on the team, and thanks to Nori there as well, I had an amazing race with him, fantastic riding. We’re getting the bike better and better, hopefully we can get some more great results before the end of the year.”

Team Alstare Suzuki’s Max Neukirchner had a good weekend in front of his home crowd. The native of Stollberg, Germany, finished third in both of the weekend’s races. Neukirchner also won the Superpole.

“I am really happy to get two podiums in front of my fans here in Germany. It’s been great to see all the German flags and hear the noise of the crowd and it is a very special feeling,” says Neukirchner. “Of course, I would have liked to have won a race here today, but Nori, Troy Corser and Troy Bayliss were very strong today. In race one, my bike was not so bad, but we were losing time in the first sector and the handling wasn’t so good. We changed the bike’s front fork set-up for the second race to try and improve the first sector but I found that I could not brake so late. I tried my very best today, but just couldn’t get the win I wanted.”

At the halfway point in the 2008 season, Bayliss’s lead has increased to 39 points over second-place Carlos Checa of Hannspree Ten Kate Honda who recorded a pair of fifth place finishes in Nürburgring.

In FIM Supersport World Championship racing, Andrew Pitt of Hannspree Ten Kate Honda earned his third win of the season to assume the championship lead. Pitt finished ahead of fellow Australians Joshua Brookes of Hannspree Stiggy Motorsport Honda and Broc Parkes of Yamaha World Supersport Team. Parkes’ teammate, Fabien Foret, finished just out of the podium, dropping him to second. The top five riders in the Supersport championship are separated by only seven points.

A three-way sprint in the final stretch at the Superstock 1000 race saw Brendan Roberts of the Ducati Xerox Junior Team finish 0.307 seconds ahead of Cruciani Moto Suzuki’s Davide Giugliano while Suzuki Alstare’s Xavier Simeon finished in third to maintain his grip on the series lead.

World Superbike racing will continue at the Misano Adriatico in San Marino on June 29.

World Superbike mid-season rankings

Pos. Rider Team Points
1. Troy Bayliss Ducati Xerox 227
2. Carlos Checa Hannspree Ten Kate Honda 188
3. Max Neukirchner Altare Suzuki 176
4. Noriyuki Haga Yamaha Motor Italia 172
5. Troy Corser Yamaha Motor Italia 154