Noriyuki Haga Profile
Noriyuki Haga, also known as "Nitro-Nori", came into the public eye on an international scale when he won the Suzuka 8 Hours endurance race in 1996 alongside American rider Colin Edwards. In that same year he scored his first World Superbike podium finish, when he accepted a wild-card ride at Sugo, his home track. The following year he triumphed in the Japanese Superbike Championship to take that title, as well as achieving four top-five finishes in the World Superbike Championship while substituting for an injured Edwards. At the 1997 Sugo round he took his first ever Superbike win.
In 1998 Noriyuki turned his attention to racing full-time in the World Superbike class, adopting the number 41 that he has used ever since. In that year he won five races and concluded the season in sixth position, despite never having seen many of the circuits on the calendar before. He went on to finish seventh in the standings in 1999 and then followed this up with a much stronger performance in 2000, when he took 4 wins and 11 podiums, to close the season as vice-champion behind title winner Colin Edwards.
In 2001 and 2003 Noriyuki moved across to the MotoGP series, racing a WCM Red Bull-sponsored Yamaha 500cc motorcycle in 2001, and with MS Racing’s MotoGP Aprilia in 2003. He had two difficult seasons and finished both in a disappointing fourteenth position, his best result a fourth place finish in 2001.
2002 was a winless season in World Superbike but a return to the category in 2004, riding this time for the Renegade Ducati team with the Ducati 999 RS, saw Noriyuki in contention for the title right up until the final round. He won six of the season’s races, before eventually finishing third in the standings. This performance was repeated in 2005, this time riding for Yamaha’s factory team, with ten podium places, and again in 2006 after scoring eleven podium place finishes.
The battle that Noriyuki fought against James Toseland in 2007 led to the closest championship finish to date, a year in which Noriyuki clocked up six race wins and fifteen podium places, including the double win at the final round of the season in Magny-Cours. Despite all this, he still had to settle for second place, just two points behind title winner James Toseland. In 2008 Noriyuki continued on with the Yamaha Motor Italia team for the fourth consecutive year, and a strong set of results that included a double win at Nurburgring and Vallelunga meant that he closed the year in third position behind second-placed man and team-mate Troy Corser, and Troy Bayliss (Ducati Xerox), crowned World Champion in 2008 for the third time.
In 2009 Noriyuki took over from the retired Troy Bayliss in the Ducati Xerox Team. The Japanese rider was immediately at ease on the Ducati and won the very first race of the season at Phillip Island. Nitro-Nori followed this up with seven further race wins and a total of nineteen podium finishes during the year, including double wins at Valencia and Kyalami. At the penultimate event of Magny-Cours, Noriyuki’s eighth race win of 2009 awarded the Ducati factory Superbike team it’s sixteenth manufacturers title.
The fight for the riders title however went down to the wire, with Noriyuki heading to the final track of the season, Portimao, just ten points ahead of second placed man Ben Spies on the Yamaha. The spectators were treated to two spectacular races in Portugal, the first of which was won by Spies and the second by Fabrizio with Noriyuki crashing out of race 1 and finishing second in race 2, to lose out on the 2009 World Superbike riders title by just six points. By the end of 2009, the Japanese rider had accumulated a career total of 106 podium finishes, beaten only by Carl Fogarty (109) and Troy Corser on 128. Of these 106 podiums, 41 were race wins; only Carl Fogarty and Troy Bayliss have won more races.
Noriyuki will continue with the Ducati Xerox Team in 2010.
Date of birth: March 2nd 1975
Place of birth: Nagoya (Japan)
Height: 168 cm
Weight: 65 kg
Marital status: Married to Yurie with two children Akito and Ryota
Hobbies: Watersports, golf, spending time with family and friends
Race number: 41
2009: World Superbike Championship, 2nd (Ducati Xerox)
2008: World Superbike Championship, 3rd (Yamaha)
2007: World Superbike Championship, 2nd (Yamaha)
2006: World Superbike Championship, 3rd (Yamaha)
2005: World Superbike Championship, 3rd (Yamaha)
2004: World Superbike Championship, 3rd (Ducati)
2003: World MotoGP Championship, 14th (Aprilia)
2002: World Superbike Championship, 4th (Aprilia)
2001: World MotoGP Championship, 14th (Yamaha)
2000: World Superbike Championship, 2nd (Yamaha)
1999: World Superbike Championship, 7th (Yamaha)
1998: World Superbike Championship, 6th (Yamaha)
1997: Japanese Superbike Champion &
World Superbike Championship, 13th (Yamaha)
1996: Suzuka 8 Hours winner &
Japanese Superbike Championship, 8th &
World Superbike Championship, 22nd (Yamaha)
1995: Japanese Superbike Championship, 10th (Yamaha)
1994: Japanese Superbike Championship, 9th ( Ducati)
1993: Japanese 250 Championship, 13th
1992: Japanese Championship Novice GP250/SP250 (Yamaha)
WORLD SUPERBIKE FORM
First race: 1996 Sugo
First fastest lap: 1996 Sugo
First podium: 1996 Sugo
First win: 1997 Sugo
Races / podiums: 260 / 106
Wins / 2nd / 3rd: 41 / 38 / 27
Double wins: 8
Pole positions: 7
Front row starts: 51
Fastest laps: 55
Total points: 3255