Swan Yamaha's Noryuki Haga opted for a safe fourth place in today's opening MCE British Superbike race at Oulton Park and has closed to the gap on the Showdown contenders to just a single point.
The Samurai of Slide was baulked in the fourth-lap melee which saw Michael Laverty and Ian Lowry go down in separate incidents. Lowry didn't score and Tommy Bridewell, who vaulted the Ulsterman, finished fifth so lost three points to Haga.
“It was a nice race for me; I had a fantastic start as I was in the leading pack and I was sixth but when Michael (Laverty) and Ian (Lowry) crashed in front of me I lost distance to the riders in front. I tried to close up to them, but the bike was moving around quite a lot and I didn’t want to risk a crash because I needed the points," said Haga, who has a new crew chief this weekend in the shape of Mark 'Brains' Woodage.
"I had a big gap behind me and so I was happy to take fourth because now I am just one point from the top six. We need to make some changes for the next races but tomorrow is another day and now I just need two good races.”