2011 World Superbike
In the following report, World SBK discusses the milestones at Motorland Aragon, which made its debut on the 2011 World Superbike calendar a year following its debut in MotoGP.
There was a weekend of milestones at Aragon World Superbike, with two riders in the statistical limelight even before the final lap of the second race was completed.
Ask any WSBK racing fan to mention icons of the series and quickly they will arrive at the name Noriyuki Haga.
The Pata Aprilia rider made it 300 career rides in WSBK racing at Aragon, in race two. he is ranked second only to all time king of the high starting race count, Troy Corser, who has been classified as present for 370 WSBK races.
A more recent superstar of the series is Leon Haslam, a former World Superbike teammate of Haga when both were Ducati privateers. He passed his own particular landmark, 100 WSBK race participations, at Aragon as well.
Maybe most surprising of all, however, was that one key landmark for Ducati as a manufacturer was not met in Spain, although most suspected it would be. World Superbik Championship leader Carlos Checa did not win either race at Motorland, meaning that Ducati is still one victory away from the magic 300 total, which means the celebrations have to be put on ice until at least Brno.
And there, at the Czech WSBK circuit, who would say it is impossible for local rider Jakub Smrz (Effenbert – Racing Ducati) to make one race and Ducati’s 300th race win his own? He was only a lap or two short of a victory at Donington, remember…
And what of Sylvain Guintoli, who has already broken through the podium barrier, at Miller WSBK?
The numbers game for Haga is the most fascinating of all, with the Japanese rider (36) having ridden in the championship for the first time in 1994, on a private Ducati in the Sugo round. Normally competing on a top-level machine, Haga has scored 113 podiums in total and 43 wins – but as a notoriously fickle rider in qualifying he has only seven pole positions in all those years! Nori has been on the front row in 52 of his races, and has set 57 fastest laps.