Assen (The Netherlands), Sunday 25th April: a difficult fourth World Superbike round for Ducati Xerox riders Noriyuki Haga and Michel Fabrizio at the TT Circuit of Assen.
In Race 1 neither Noriyuki or Michel got off the line particularly fast, Noriyuki in 13th and Michel dropping to 14th position from eighth on the grid. For the first half of the race the Ducati Xerox riders oscillated between 13th and 16th position and by mid-race they found themselves in a duel with the two Suzukis of Haslam and Guintoli.
When the Suzuki riders made some mistakes, Nori was able to pass both of them and Michel too got by Guintoli. Over the 22 laps Noriyuki made up several places, to move from sixteenth at the end of lap two to tenth, the position he held from lap seventeen until the finish line. Michel closed Race 1 in thirteenth position.
The Ducati Xerox men made similar starts to Race 2. Noriyuki went wide at the first corner when he tried to pass riders by going around the outside.
Feeling strong vibrations from the engine of his 1198, which only became worse during the first couple of laps, and realizing there was an engine problem, Noriyuki was forced to return to the box, thus retiring from the race.
Michel, in the first half of the race, had a good pace which allowed him to make up a few positions but he then suffered from a sudden drop in the performance of the rear tyre which badly affected his lap times; he concluded the race in twelfth position.
After this fourth round of the World Superbike Championship, Japanese rider Noriyuki lies in sixth position in the general standings, with 85 points. His team-mate Michel is in ninth with 53 points. Ducati is in third position in the manufacturers classification, with 130 points to Aprilia’s 134 and Suzuki’s 148.
Noriyuki Haga (Race 1 – 10th , Race 2 – DNF) says: "It was a very difficult day for us today. In Race 1 I didn’t make the good start that I needed to, and from the fourth row I had to push very hard even to make up one or two positions. In Race 2, I realized already during the warm-up lap that the engine vibrations I was feeling were maybe stronger than normal. I hoped it wouldn’t be a problem and started the race but it became worse as I rode and I knew there was something wrong technically. It’s very disappointing of course because this year, more than ever, it’s important to be consistent – there are so many of us fighting for the positions that count and it’s becoming more and more of a battle."
Michel Fabrizio (Race 1 – 13th , Race 2 – 12th) says: "In Race 1 I got off to a bad start and it was difficult to match the pace of those ahead of me. We made a few changes to my 1198 between the two races and for the first half of race 2 it was better; I was able to push hard and make up a few places. But then, in the second half of the race, practically from one lap to the next, the rear tyre performance dropped dramatically. I risked falling a couple of times and realized I had to take it easy if I wanted to finish the race. I’m looking forward to Monza where I hope we can perform a lot better in front of my home crowd."
Racing Results: Race 1 – 1. Rea (Honda); 2. Toseland (Yamaha); 3. Camier (Aprilia) Race 2 – 1. Rea (Honda); 2. Haslam (Suzuki); Toseland (Yamaha)
World SBK Points: 1. Haslam (Suzuki) 148; 2. Biaggi (Aprilia) 128; 3. Rea (Honda) 110; 4. Checa (Ducati) 103; 5. Toseland (Yamaha) 86; 6. Haga (Ducati Xerox) 85; 7. Corser (BMW) 68; 8. Guintoli (Suzuki) 55; 9. Fabrizio (Ducati Xerox) 53….
Motorcycle Manufacturers Points: Suzuki 148; Aprilia 134; Ducati 130; Honda 111; Yamaha 93; BMW 69; ; Kawasaki 19