Noriyuki Haga, the fastest and most charismatic racer never to win the World Superbike title (he has two second and three third places, missing the title in 2000 because a cold medicine tested with a banned substance), looks to be out of a ride for the first time since 1996.
The past couple of seasons have been tough on Nitro Nori (also known as the Samurai of Slide), as he came second with the factory Xerox Ducati squad in 2009, slipped to sixth in 2010, then had a lacklustre season with the satellite Pata Aprilia team in 2011.
The entry list for WSB has been released, and he’s not there. Rumours have him looking for rides in the British or Japanese superbike series (in both of which he’s shone in the past) or perhaps just retiring. After 43 race wins and coming so close so often, it’s sad to see him without a ride.
The “final provisional” list of entries follows, the most recent entries being Leandro Mercado of Argentina and David Salom of Spain, riding Kawasaki ZX-10s for the Pedercini team.
3. Max Biaggi, Italy, Aprilia Racing RSV-4
4. Hiroshi Aoyama, Japan, Honda WSBK CBR1000RR
7. Carlos Checa, Spain, Althea Ducati 1098R
17. Joan Lascorz, Portugal, Kawasaki Racing ZX-10R
19. Chaz Davies, U.K., ParkinGO Aprilia RSV-4
21. John Hopkins, USA, Crescent Suzuki GSX-R1000
33. Marco Melandri, Italy, BMW Motorrad S1000RR
34. Davide Giugliano, Italy, Althea Ducati 1098R
35. Raffaele De Rosa, Italy, Pro Ride Honda CBR1000RR
36. Leandro Mercado, Argentina, Pedercini Kawasaki ZX-10R
44. David Salom, Spain, Pedercini Kawasaki ZX-10R
50. Sylvain Guintoli, France, Effenbert Liberty Ducati 1098R
58. Eugene Laverty, U.K., Aprilia Racing RSV-4
59. Niccolo Canepa, Italy, Ducati Roma 1098R
65. Jonathan Rea, U.K., Honda WSBK CBR1000RR
66. Tom Sykes, U.K., Kawasaki Racing ZX-10R
78. Lorenzo Zanetti, Italy, PATA Ducati 1098R
84. Michel Fabrizio, Italy, BMW Italia Goldbet S1000RR
86. Ayrton Badovini, Italy, BMW Italia Goldbet S1000RR
91. Leon Haslam, U.K., BMW Motorrad S1000RR
96. Jakub Smrz, Czech Republic, Effenbert Liberty Ducati 1098R
121. Maxime Berger, France, Liberty Effenbert Ducati 1098R
TBA. Leon Camier, U.K., Crescent Suzuki GSX-R1000
TBA. Mark Aitchison, Australia, Grillini Progea BMW S1000RR