Noriyuki Haga and Troy Corser (Yamaha Motor Italia WSB Team) approach the seventh round of the 2008 World Superbike Championship, at the Nürburgring in Germany this coming weekend, safe in the knowledge that they are as experienced at this circuit as almost any
of their peers.
Both Yamaha factory riders have raced on the 1998 and 1999 versions of the circuit, located in the Eifel Mountains close to the Belgian border, and will have little difficulty remembering the majority of the layout.
After an action-packed WSB round in the USA, Haga has had to show grit and determination to participate in the German round. His nasty collarbone fracture, plated and pinned in California last week, did not stop Haga competing and scoring ten more points than championship leader Troy Bayliss.
Haga, now sporting a steel plate and eight screws in his right collarbone, will be out to score as many points as possible in Germany without taking undue risks that may cause further complications to his injury. Remarkably, Haga's fracture was his first significant injury since taking up racing, almost 30 years ago!
A rejuvenated Corser had a one-up and one-down experience in America, securing a close second place and a crash when pushing for another podium finish, he approaches the Nürburgring race safe in the knowledge that he won the last SBK race held at this track, in 1999.
The circuit has been altered somewhat since Haga and Corser battled it out in 1998 and 1999 (When Haga rode for Yamaha and Corser Ducati) with the first corner now a hairpin, followed by a stadium-style complex of corners, before the riders head back out to a more familiar full circuit layout.
Haga is ready for another challenging weekend, as he goes for win number three of the 2008 season. "We got back from America on the Tuesday evening after my operation from Doctor Ting in San Francisco. I was in so much pain right afterwards but day-by-day the pain has got less and less. I went to the hospital in Italy for checks and it all seems OK. I expect to approach the German round pretty much like any other race, and score good points, even though I need to be a little careful. All of this is a new experience for me anyway. It is the first time I have broken a bone in 29 years of racing! As for the track, I remember some of it, but everybody will be finding their way around and I am a quick learner. I am not worried about the track or anything else this weekend."
Corser is looking for his first win of the year and his return to podium status at Miller has buoyed him with confidence to get the job done in Germany. "I have been there before and a lot of guys haven't but it's been changed a bit anyway. As I remember, it's a bit like Brno, lots of straights and then up and downhill corners. We found a good setting with the chassis when we went to America, and I hope that we can get the same grip from the track surface that allowed us to use our bike the way we wanted to in Germany as well."