CycleNews.com is reporting that Noriyuki Haga has signed at least a letter of intent to race an Aprilia superbike next year in the WSB championship, and has given Aprilia an option to a second year aboard a WSB or GP four-stroke machine. Haga will be back aboard his beloved Dunlops (he had raced a two-stroke 500 GP machine for Yamaha aboard Michelins this year, with frequently disastrous results).
Haga would likely have been WSB champion aboard a Yamaha R7 during the 2000 season, but he lost valuable points and race starts due to failing a WSB sanctioning body’s urine test during the season.
As Yamaha’s rising star, he was then brought to the 500 GP team this year, and, despite flashes of brilliance, had a forgettable campaign. Aboard an Aprilia next year, in the WSB championship, Haga will be a threat to win any race, and a definite favorite for the championship. Indeed, he should be an improved rider — going from the most difficult ride possible (a 500 GP two-stroke on Michelin tires) to the most benign (a big, V-twin, four-stroke, aboard Dunlops).