Haga: I thought toothache would kill me

Published: 04 November 2001

Noriyuki Haga’s toothache in Rio turned out to be more serious than first thought. When he returned to Japan he needed emergency surgery.

The tooth infection forced him to miss the final round of the 500 GP season. During his flight home to Japan the pain grew worse.

" It got so bad I thought I was dying. I got back to Japan and went straight to hospital where they told me I needed an operation straight away. I'm still in a lot of pain, mainly from my throat and it looks like I haven't got a neck!"

The Red Bull rider, whose racing future remains a mystery at the moment, couldn’t get his lid on over the swelling in Rio.

Doctors said the infection was made worse by stress and fatigue.

The swelling was causing Haga's throat to close and restricting his breathing, which is the reason doctors wanted to remove the problem tooth straight away.

The 26-year-old is being kept in hospital while the infection clears up.

Haga’s tooth problem completed a miserable season as he only really showed brief glimpses of the form that made him a worldwide star in WSB. His future remains unsettled.

The next issue of MCN Sport magazine is out on November 15