Qatar Hero

Henny Ray Abrams | March 14, 2009

Yamaha’s Ben Spies swept his first doubleheader in only his second World Superbike race to close in on the points lead in the World Superbike Championship.Spies got to the front quicker than he had in the first race. Third for the first three laps, Spies negated Ducati Xerox’s Nori Haga’s lap record on lap three to pass Aprilia’s Max Biaggi for second.After two laps of stalking the Japanese rider, Spies slammed past and made an immediate gap, lowering the lap record on the sixth lap.The gap grew to nearly four seconds two from the end before Spies slowed to win. The margin of victory of his third win in a row was 1.274 seconds.After two of 14 races, Haga leads Spies, 85-75.”He [Haga} set a really good pace in the first few laps,” Spies explained of race two in a release from his publicist. “In the first race we were lacking just a little bit in acceleration and it was hard to race with him. In the second race I put my head down and tried to close up. Once I got to him I tried to keep the same rhythm going. When I passed for the lead I went as hard as I could for the next 10 laps and was able to open up a gap and brought it home. It was a better race for me than the first one because I was able to concentrate on my lines and ride my own race.”Haga got by Biaggi on lap 10, then made a small gap on him. Ten Kate Honda’s Ryuichi Kiyonari was looking set to get Biaggi and maybe more.Biaggi made his move to second place on the first corner of the final lap, only for Haga to take a tight line inside and pass the Italian again. Haga took second, Biaggi third, and Kiyonari fourth.Spies teammate Tom Sykes had his best WSB finish, a fifth by himself, and a photo finish would give Team Brux Alstare’s Max Neukirchner sixth, by .002 of a second over Aprilia’s Shinya Nakano.Hannspree Ten Kate Honda’s Jonathan Rea was eighth, while BMW’s Troy Corser and Ruben Xaus, and Stiggy Racing Honda’s Leon Haslam had their own photo finish for ninth.

Race Two:1. Ben Spies (Yamaha)

2. Nori Haga ( Ducati)

3. Max Biaggi (Aprilia)

4. Ryuichi Kiyonari (Honda)

5. Tom Sykes (Yamaha)

6. Max Neukirchner (Suz)

7. Shinya Nakano (Aprilia)

8. Jonathan Rea (Honda)

9. Troy Corser (BMW)

10. Ruben Xaus (BMW)

Henny Ray Abrams | Contributing Editor

Abrams is the longest-serving contributor at Cycle News. Over the course of his 35-some years of writing and shooting photos, he’s covered events from MotoGP to the Motocross World Championship - and everything in between.