I have been following Barros for a long time, and I never had a clue that he was THAT good! I think he has something like 5 GP wins in his career. Seems like he was made for the new 4-stroke formula! Seems like on the 2-strokes, he was always in the second tier of riders.
Did you see his testing times on the M1 at Vaencia yesterday? Equalled his qualifying time from last weekend, so it looks like he won't have too much trouble getting that Yamaha up in the hunt for next season.
Haga is still signed with Aprilia. Whether he will race WSBK or GP is still up in the air, but after Haga tested the bike, his first time out he did better than Laconi so they are thinking of putting him on the GP bike. The new Michelins, rumor says, they ride kind of like a cross between the Dunlops and older Michelins, so Haga may be able to race them.
WSB is in for a tough season -- looks like there will be no factory or semi-factory participation in 2003, although all expect to be back in full force in 2004. (This just confirmed in a press release from the motorcycle manufacturers' association).
It is clear that, especially internationally, GP has more status, and now that the 4-stroke racers have more relevance to what the manufacturers sell, it will be hard for WSB to compete.
Strategically, I think they dropped the ball by waiting too long to announce the rule change allowing 1000 multis. Having an entire season of only European bikes (ok, maybe 1 Asian bike, IF you consider the Foggy/Petronas to be Malasian, and [bigger] IF it actually makes an appearance) will cost them a big part of their fan base which was built up over years.
Personally, I think it is likely that WSB will end up as a feeder for MotoGP, as right now, it is probably the best preparation for MotoGP. Of course, if gp does with the 250 class what it did to the premier class (eg allowing 500cc 4strokes) that could also change.