Haga back on the podium for Ducati Xerox

Noriyuki Haga returned to the podium on Monday with a third place finish in Race 1 at the Miller Motorsports Park in Salt Lake City, a significant result as it is the first time that he has finished in the top three on this particular track. In the early morning warm-up session, Noriyuki demonstrated a consistently fast pace and registered the overall fastest time.

In Race 1 Noriyuki failed to make a great start and after the first lap he was lying in sixth position but pushed on to arrive in fifth position, just behind Leon Camier and Leon Haslam; he remained there until the eighteenth lap when he was finally able to pass Camier. During the same lap race leader Checa`s bike came to a stop, so Noriyuki moved up to third and held this position to the line. The podium finish is significant for Haga as in the last two years he had never managed to close in the top three on this particular track.
In race 2 Xaus touched Noriyuki`s bike right off the line which caused him to lose positions and precious time, then during lap six Haga got past Rea and, following the retirement of both Checa and Haslam from the race, he moved up to fifth. Haga pushed hard, catching and passing Corser on the BMW in the closing stages. Even though his pace was still strong, time did not allow the Japanese rider to catch Crutchlow, meaning he had to settle for a final fourth position.
“I`m really happy to be back on the podium today, but it wasn`t easy!” declared Haga. “At the start of Race 1 I was having trouble pushing but after a few laps the tyres picked up a bit and I was finally able to get past Camier in the final stages. It`s a great result and the first time I`ve been on the Miller podium. In Race 2 I had a similar feeling with my bike but the race was more difficult. I started badly and had to push so hard to make up the lost ground. In the last two years my weekends at Miller have been conditioned by crashes but this year I had a good feeling right from the first exit I made on Friday and this gave me confidence that a podium was possible. I`m satisfied and now we move on to Misano, a circuit where there is no long straight and where the Ducati could be very fast.”

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