As we enter the fifth round of the 2009 season the most successful rider in recent WSB meetings at Monza is unquestionably a certain Noriyuki Haga.
In the last two years, while riding a Yamaha, he has scored three wins and one second place finish. The Japanese rider actually sees Monza as a home race, as he has lived in neighbouring Milan during the season for a number of years.
Haga is the current clear championship leader and he will be joined at Monza not only by his fellow Ducati Xerox rider Michel Fabrizio, chasing his first Monza podium, but by the 2008 World Champion, Troy Bayliss. Troy will not be riding, of course, but will be acting in his role of Ducati ambassador at what is always an important race for the Borgo Panigale-based company.
Haga, like several other top contenders, tested at the Autodromo recently, and should therefore be completely prepared for whatever awaits him at Monza this weekend.
Noriyuki Haga Speaks...
"We did some testing at Monza recently and it was my first chance to ride the 1198 there," said Haga.
"Although we had a few problems, I know these will be resolved for the race weekend. I am already really excited about the Monza race. I am not thinking about the possibility of winning the championship, I just think about each race, taking one weekend at a time. Of course at Monza I hope to win again, especially because it is my home circuit!"