World Superbike legend Noriyuki Haga will replace the injured Ian Hutchinson in Shaun Muir's Swan Yamaha team. The Samurai of Slide beat off a challenge for the seat by MotoGP exile Ant West and will remain in the team all year.
Haga was left in the wilderness at the end of 2011 when he didn't reach a deal with the Pata Aprilia squad and looked headed for retirement until Hutchinson's accident became a lifeline. Hutchinson will continue with his roads programme and slot into the short circuit side of things when he is fully fit. The Japanese rider is on a one-year deal with the Guisborough-based team.
"It had been a difficult decision to make between Haga and West but the Japanese rider's long association with the factory had just swung it over the Aussie charger. We didn't finalise it until Saturday lunchtime but I'm very happy to have him on board," said a very ill team boss Shaun Muir, speaking to bikesportnews.com this morning.
"Nori will be a very exciting addition to the team and to the series for 2012. Hutchy will continue with his roads programme and will slot into the short circuit side of things as and when his fitness allows but that will hopefully be sooner rather than later."