Donington Park (UK), Sunday 28th June: with the third place finish achieved in Race 1 at Donington Park today, Noriyuki Haga becomes the third rider in Superbike history to have obtained 100 podiums. Unfortunately in race 2 Haga was victim of a serious crash in which he has suffered a fracture of one of the spinal vertebrae. He has been transferred this afternoon to Derby hospital where the medical team will further evaluate the situation.
In the first race Noriyuki made a strong start and found himself in third position behind Spies and Biaggi. When the leading two began to pull away the Japanese rider did all he could to stick with them but the gap increased and Noriyuki rode a lonely last few laps. His team-mate Michel lost a few position at the start and found it subsequently difficult to make up the lost ground, mainly due to a technical problem with the gears. Losing further positions in the final phase of the race, Fabrizio was however able to collect three points, finishing in twelfth place.
In Race 2 Nakano and Rea crashed out early on living Fabrizio a small advantage; in the initial laps the Italian rider progressed from ninth to third position. Despite Byrne’s defensive riding, Michel finally managed to pass him aftger nineteen laps, maintaining second position as far as the checkered flag.
Noriyuki made another good start and was in second place by the end of the first lap, but on the fourth lap he suffered a bad fall while entering Coppice Corner. He was immediately transferred to the track’s medical centre where the doctors declared a fracture of one of his vertebrae. At this point it was decided to move him by helicopter to Derby hospital where he will receive further medical attention.
Noriyuki ha finished on the podium in thirteen of the eighteen races run so far, Michel in eleven; with today’s results, the Ducati Xerox team continue their 100% podium record. Noriyuki is only the third ever rider in Superbike history to score 100 podiums; only Corser with 128 and Fogarty with 109 have achieved more. Of the 100 podiums, 39 have been race wins.
Haga continues to lead the championship, holding 308 points ahead of Spies with 294 and Fabrizio with 257. Ducati leads the constructors classification with 383 points to Yamaha’s 337.
Noriyuki Haga Speaks… (Race 1 -3rd, Race 2 – DNF)
Race 1: "I’m very happy to have made the podium today because we knew it would be a very difficult weekend. I am proud to have reached the 100 podium mark! At the start of Race 1 I did all I could to stick with Max and Ben but, even though I was pushing, today they seemed to have a small advantage and I was unable to do better than third."
Race 2: Haga, after today’s accident, was unavavilable for comment at time of print.
Michel Fabrizio Speaks… (Race 1 – 12th, Race 2 – 3rd)
"Race 1 was very difficult, I had a problem with the gears and because of this I lost several positions. I couldn’t do much to improve the situation and in the end I could only bring home three points. Before Race 2 we decided to go out with the second bike. I again made a bad start but immediately started to work to regain ground. I spent most of the race battling it out against Byrne and Haslam, just managing to pass Shakey near the end. I’m happy with my race 2 result but I am of course sorry for Nori. I saw the accident and it reminded me of Troy’s crash in the same place two years ago, both serious."
Race 1 – 1. Spies (Yamaha); 2. Biaggi (Aprilia); 3. Haga (Ducati Xerox); Race 2 – 1. Spies (Yamaha); 2. Haslam (Honda); 3. Fabrizio (Ducati Xerox)
Championship Rider Point Standings
1. Haga (Ducati Xerox) 308; 2. Spies (Yamaha) 294; 3. Fabrizio (Ducati Xerox) 257; 4. Rea (Honda) 177; 5. Haslam (Honda) 167; 6. Biaggi (Aprilia) 155. Manufacturers – Ducati 383; Yamaha 337; Honda 273; Aprilia 162; Suzuki 131; BMW 70; Kawasaki 47