Spies Crashes, Haga Wins Race One

Cycle News Staff | April 5, 2009

Ducati Xerox’s Nori Haga took advantage of a rare race crash by Yamaha’s Ben Spies to win the first World Superbike race in Valencia, Spain.Spies raised expectations by arriving in Valencia riding a three-race winning streak. He then upped the ante by taking Superpole by .7 of a second and in the morning warm-up ran a string of laps no one could match.But on the 10th lap of the race, while lying third behind Haga and Alstare Suzuki’s Max Neukirchner), Spies crashed

when he lost the front in turn one, his bike spiraling through the gravel as Spies tumbled on behind.The last time Spies crashed in a race was at Barber Motorsports Park almost one year ago. He remounted to finish 11th. But he had never crashed out of a Superbike class since joining the class in 2005. Spies’ last crash out of a race came five years ago when he fell in the Superstock race at Barber while racing a Suzuki GSX-R750 against the 1000s.Even before Spies went out, Haga was untouchable. On lap five the Japanese rider had made history by breaking Neil Hodgson’s lap record, set in 2003 on prototype Michelins. In good, dry track conditions Haga went at a pace of 1:34.862, just under Hodgson’s 1:35.007.Haga grew the lead to over five seconds on the 15th of 23 laps before slowing to win by 3.677 seconds. Haga’s teammate Michel Fabrizio passed Neukirchner on the 21st lap to take over second. The two were joined by DFX Corse Ducati’s Regis Laconi for the battle to the flag. Fabrizio held off the German by .3 of a second, with the same gap back to Laconi.Stiggy Honda’s Leon Haslam was nine seconds back in fifth and six places ahead of his new teammate John Hopkins. Hopkins finished his first World Superbike race in 11th place.Haslam headed a loose four rider pack that included Team Alstare Suzuki Brux’s Yukio Kagayama, who finished just under a second back. Yamaha’s Tom Sykes and Aprilia’s Max Biaggi crossed the line soon after.

Race One:1. Nori Haga (Ducati)2. Michel Fabrizio (Ducati)3. Max Neukirchner (Suzuki)4. Regis Laconi (Ducati)5. Leon Haslam (Honda)6. Yukio Kagayama (Suzuki)7. Tom Sykes (Yamaha)8. Max Biaggi (Aprilia)9. Shane Byrne (Ducati)10. Broc Parkes (Kawasaki)11. John Hopkins (Honda)