Haga Wins, Spies Crashes

Cycle News Staff | April 26, 2009

Ducati Xerox’s Noriyuki Haga won his fourth World Superbike race of the season today in the second of two races in Assen, Holland, and more importantly he saw his championship rival – and the winner of race one – Ben Spies crash out of the lead on just the second lap.With Spies out of the running, Haga had a relatively easy time of it, pulling away to a four-second lead and maintaining that until slowing in the final laps to win by 2.6 seconds. Haga now has four wins and four second-place finishes in the eight races run thus far in 2009 – and a substantial points lead of 60 points, 180-120, after Spies’ second race crash of the young season.Second place in race two went to Stiggy Honda’s Leon Haslam, the Brit holding off the advances of Haga’s teammate Michel Fabrizio at mid-race. Third, however, would not go to Fabrizio, but instead to Guandalini Racing Ducati’s Jakub Smrz, the Czech Republic rider scoring his first-ever World Superbike podium after besting Fabrizio, who slowed on the final lap. Fabrizio held on to finish fourth, some four seconds adrift of Smrz.Then came Hannspree Tenk Kate Honda’s Jonathan Rea, the Brit some two seconds clear of his countryman and Spies teammate Tom Sykes. Sykes, in turn, was three seconds ahead of Rea’s teammate Carlos Checa.Shane Byrne, Alstare Suzuki’s Max Neukirchner and BMW’s Troy Corser rounded out the top 10 finishers.Aprilia’s Max Biaggi went out of the race on the opening lap, the new Superbike suffering some sort of mechanical problem as he coasted back to the pits.Spies’ crash came in turn three after he and Haga had just passed first lap leader Haslam. The Texan got up and walked away while Haga put his head down and gapped the rest of the field. Haslam stayed the closest and it was his season best finish in second place. Smrz got Fabrizio on the final lap and Rea topped countryman Sykes.Race Two1. Noriyuki Haga (Ducati)2. Leon Haslam (Honda)3. Jakub Smrz (Ducati)4. Michael Fabrizio (Ducati)5. Jonathan Rea (Honda)6. Tom Skyes (Yamaha)7. Carlos Checa (Honda)8. Shane Byrne (Ducati)9. Max Neukirchner (Suzuki)10. Troy Corser (BMW)