WORLD Superbike rider Noriyuki Haga has joined the Guisborough-based Swan Yamaha team for this season’s MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship.

Haga has been drafted in to replace the injured Ian Hutchinson who was injured in the run-up to this season.

He is famous for his flamboyant riding style, with much of his World Championship success coming in conjunction with Yamaha.

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The Japanese ace Haga has recorded 43 race wins in the World Championship, finishing runner-up in the title race on three occasions (2009, 2007, 2000) and securing third in the overall standings in an additional four seasons (2008, 2006, 2005, 2004).

He has already celebrated success on MCE BSB Championship circuits at World level, including podium finishes at Brands Hatch, Donington Park, Silverstone and Assen.

Haga said: “It is a new challenge for me to race in BSB and I am now ready for the new season with Swan Yamaha.

“I feel that after many years in the same series this will be a kind of restart to my racing career. BSB has grown a lot and I have big support from the fans in the UK, so I liked the idea of racing in the Championship. “It will also be a return to Yamaha, where I spent so many years taking many wins and now I feel like I am going back to my family. I have won races with Yamaha before in the World Championship and now I hope that we can do it again in BSB.“ Team Owner Shaun Muir described the situation with Hutchinson as “difficult” given the timing.

“We then had to set out to find a replacement rider and the result for us could not have been better,” he said. “We are absolutely delighted that Noriyuki will be joining us and we are now looking forward to welcoming him into the team.

“Noriyuki has such vast experience of racing a Superbike and during his career has always had a strong partnership with Yamaha and we are happy that we can continue that relationship this year. The Swan Yamaha team won the title last season and Noriyuki is really ready for the challenge of BSB and is coming to race here to win.”