Ben Spies (Yamaha World Superbike) soon got back to his Superpole winning ways with his eighth pole of the year in nine races at Donington Park in the UK. The 24 year-old Texan was the only rider to dip under 1’30″ in the final run, which was conditioned by a light rain shower that prevented his rivals from responding, and he ended up in the top slot with a time of 1 minute 29.846 seconds. After a difficult weekend at Misano, the Aprilia Racing team had a superb qualifying day, with both of their riders getting onto the front row, Max Biaggi in second and Shinya Nakano in fourth. The final front row slot went to British rider Shane Byrne (Sterilgarda Ducati), who also had the satisfaction of being the first Ducati 1098 on the grid. read more
Ben Spies: “It was a good session for us, but we almost got caught out. I was one of the last to leave the garage and as soon as I went out of pit-lane I could see the drops starting to come, so I had to really attack the warm-up lap to make sure I got around and get relaxed in case it started raining. The first sector was brilliant, but then the rain started to come and I had to be careful not to touch the paint. It was good to get pole, this circuit has a short start for turn one so it’s good positioning. The bike’s working well on race tyres so we need a good start tomorrow.”
Ben Spies (Yamaha World Superbike) and Jonathan Rea (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) scored the two wins in a memorable day of racing at the Misano World Circuit in Italy. In front of 65,000 spectators Spies took his eighth seasonal win in the first race, while Rea grabbed his maiden Superbike win in the second. The Ducati Xerox pairing of Michel Fabrizio, third and second in the two races, and Noriyuki Haga were also key players in the day’s action, and the Japanese rider now has a 48 point lead over Spies and 55 over his team-mate. read more
Spies scored the win in the first race of the day, held in flag-to-flag conditions, which saw the riders starting on a wet track but taking the flag in the dry. Half-way through the 24-lapper, which had been totally dominated by Shane Byrne (Sterilgarda Ducati), the entire field started to pit to change bikes and tyres. Spies was the rider who judged things to perfection, the Texan immediately finding the right pace in the dry and going on to win by almost 8 seconds from Byrne. Third place saw a fantastic scrap, with Fabrizio making his 1098 machine as wide as possible on the final lap to hold off the rapidly catching poleman Jakub Smrz (Guandalini Ducati). Fifth place went to Haga, who limited the damage on a track that is not one of his favourites, the Japanese rider passing his compatriot Yukio Kagayama (Suzuki Alstare) in the final stages. Rea was the first Honda to the flag in a race that saw him start from the back of the grid and pick up a ride-through penalty. Tenth place went to Superbike rookie Matthieu Lagrive (Honda Althea), behind Shinya Nakano (Aprilia), while team-mate Max Biaggi was in difficulty in these conditions and could only finish 13th.
Michel Fabrizio (Ducati Xerox) continued his recent run of positive form as he powered to the provisional pole in the opening qualifying session for the sixth round of the Hannspree FIM Superbike World Championship at Kyalami. The 24-year-old Italian, who dominated the pre-season testing session here last December, set a new official benchmark of 1 minute 38.103 seconds around the 4.246 km circuit.
Second place went to Jonathan Rea (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda), the British rider four-tenths of a second behind Fabrizio, with his Honda CBR machine showing major signs of a renaissance in the last couple of races. Texan rookie sensation Ben Spies (Yamaha World Superbike) moved up from 14th to third in the last few minutes of the session, while Leon Haslam (Stiggy Racing Honda) was back on form with the final provisional front row slot. read more
Michel Fabrizio (Ducati Xerox) and Ben Spies (Yamaha World Superbike) shared the wins in an exciting fifth round of the Hannspree FIM Superbike World Championship at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza. 118,000 spectators witnessed Fabrizio’s maiden Superbike win in race 1 and Spies making amends in race 2 for his first race disappointment, when his Yamaha ran out of fuel at the final corner. Noriyuki Haga (Ducati Xerox) crashed out in race 2 after being hit by a bird but still leads the table with a 54 point advantage over Spies. read more
Monza Race 1
The first Superbike race of the day saw a thrilling end to one of the best races ever seen at Monza. The race had to have two starts, after two crashes at the first chicane of lap 1 involving Tamada, Hill, Corser, Neukirchner and Roberts led to it being interrupted. The German came off the worst with a broken right femur and dislocated right foot, while Roberts picked up various bruises. The outcome of the race was decided at the final curve. Spies was well on his way towards a fifth win of the season when in the Parabolica his Yamaha ran out of fuel just a few metres from the line. Michel Fabrizio (Ducati Xerox) capitalized on Spies’ misfortune to take his first win in Superbike. Team-mate Noriyuki Haga finished second to maintain his points lead. The third place battle also saw a thrilling end as Max Biaggi took his Aprilia over the line, but the Italian was penalized 20 seconds for cutting the chicane, leaving Ryuichi Kiyonari (Ten Kate Honda) to take the final podium position after a spectacular mid-race recovery from a poor start. Fourth went to Yukio Kagayama (Suzuki Alstare), ahead of the British pair of Jonathan Rea (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) and Tom Sykes (Yamaha World Superbike). Both BMW and Kawasaki placed riders inside the top 10, Ruben Xaus taking the German four-cylinder machine to seventh while a still unfit Broc Parkes fought hard for tenth place.
Michel Fabrizio: “Well, I really didn’t expect this win, even though I’d been up at the front for the past two days. I had a small problem when the gearing hit neutral after Ben and I touched and I was not able to find second. He got away a bit from me but I thought I had to fight until the very end because I was convinced I could do it. But I think his fuel finished, a real pity for him.”
Noriyuki Haga: “For sure we did a great race, and it was really tiring, unfortunately on the last lap and the last corner Ben had to stop, but for us we did a great job so I want to say a big thanks to all the team. My bike was working good but this weekend we had a little problem that we tried to find but we didn’t resolve and it wasn’t perfect.”
Ryuichi Kiyonari: “My start was very bad in race one but I was able to fight back lap by lap during the race. Still I can’t believe this result because on the last lap I thought fifth, but when the race stopped I was in fourth and when I got to my pit box my team told me I was third, so I was very surprised and happy.”
The Ducati Xerox Team is pumped up and ready for action, completing today the first qualifying session of the fifth World Superbike round of the season under the Monza sunshine. Factory rider Michel Fabrizio was on the pace from the first practice session of the day, finishing said session in first place before heading out onto a track that reached temperatures of 47°C for the afternoon qualifying session, in which he again pushed his 1198 machine to the limit, to conclude first qualifying three tenths of a second faster than any other rider on track. read more