This Sunday sees the penultimate round take place at Vallelunga, near Rome in Italy and, with only two rounds to go and 41 points separating Haga from first place, this race is key to Yamaha's fight for the championship.
The previous round at Lausitz could well prove to be a corner stone in Haga's title fight as he took a win and second place, cutting the gap between him and first place by 25 points. The impact of this result will only really be understood after this weekend's race.
Vallelunga is a new circuit on the WSB calendar but it won't be totally new to all the riders following a testing session there in July. Built in 1959, the track was originally a sand mile oval but it has been upgraded over the years and is now set to host its first WSB race.The July test session gave the Yamaha Motor Italia team the chance to start the process of finding the right set-up and tyres for the circuit and both riders came away feeling positive about the track layout as well as knowing what settings worked best for the conditions.
With a fast section at the start and a slower section at the end of the lap, the track is quite technical and will prove to be challenging for set-up this weekend.
Following on from his success at Lausitz, Haga is fired up and determined as he pulls his leathers on this weekend. His last outing at Vallelunga was the two-day test in July where he was seventh fastest overall. "I don't think I've ever felt closer to the championship title than I do now; everything is coming together and the bike is feeling the best it's ever done. My focus for this weekend is to chip away at that points margin a bit more; it's all about winning this weekend," Haga says of the championship. 'I liked the Vallelunga circuit when we tested there earlier this year. It's challenging because of the combination of blind corners and twisty sections, but I like circuits like that. This circuit is new to virtually everyone and I think it will level out the playing field. I don't under-estimate those behind me but my main focus this weekend is on the one place in front of me.'
Corser's last trip to Vallelunga proved successful, with him overall third fastest in testing just behind Xaus and Bayliss. After grabbing third and fifth at Lausitz three weeks ago, he is positive for even better results this weekend. "I went well in testing there even though I had a scary moment going into turn two at one point, which slowed me down a bit. I feel we've got something even better in the bike now than we had when we tested there, and I was third then. So, I'm pretty positive about it all! Tyres will be the main focus for me as we've got a fairly good base setting already," Corser says. 'The track layout is good and the undulations make it fun, although the track gets narrower in the second section, which will make for close racing. The idea will be to go fast from the start, get to the front and go; there's not a lot of room for passing and when there is it's on the brakes. It's going to be an interesting race to watch as well as ride in!'