Spies Storms Assen

Cycle News Staff | April 26, 2009

Yamaha Motor Italia’s Ben Spies won his fourth World Superbike race of the year today in race one at the Circuit van Drenthe in Assen, Holland, and that fourth win my have been his best thus far.Spies ended up stealing victory from Ducati Xerox’s Noriyuki Haga has three corners from the finish line after making a late-race charge from third place to be in position to attack the World Championship points leader.The final move of the race came in the high-speed, right-hand kink with the Texan diving up the inside of his Japanese rival on the last lap. It ended with Spies just .164 of a second ahead at the finish line.Early on, Spies looked comfortable out front, but Haga charged through and took the lead on the 13th lap, bringing Stiggy Honda’s Leon Haslam with him. Prior to that, it was Alstare Suzuki’s Max Neukirchner who had bee putting the pressure on Spies, but that threat ended on the seventh lap when the German crashed in the final corner.After taking the lead, Haga made an attempt at breaking away, but Haslam was with him and Spies was working hard to keep in their trail. The top three were bunching up again as the race entered its final phases, with Spies now only half a second back.Spies attempted pass on Haslam on lap 20 lasted for our corners, with each rider locking elbows all the way around the new part of the track out the back, with Spies finally easing past. This spread the top three out to one second on lap 20, .7 of a secondc on lap 21. The final lap was set to be a classic, with Spies and Haga seemingly far enough ahead of Haslam for him not to be a factor.On the final exit of Duikersloot it all changed, as Spies managed to pass Haga through the fast Meeuwenmeer kink, an audacious move, and despite Haga trying to get past, Spies had it all under control on the last few high pace corners, holding Haga off with a combination of pace and good line choices.Fourth place went to Spies’ teammate Tom Sykes in his best effort thus far. Max Biaggi rode the factory Aprilia to fifth. Then came Guadalini Ducati’s Jakub Smrz, Hannspree Ten Kate Honda’s Jonathan Rea, Ducati’s Michel Fabrizio, Regis Laconi and the BMW of Troy Corser rounding out the top 10.With the win, Spes closed to within 27 points of Haga, 155-129. Haslam is third with 74 points.Race One

1.                  Ben Spies (Yamaha)

2.                  Noriyuki Hasga (Ducati)

3.                  Leon Haslam (Honda)

4.                  Tom Sykes (Yamaha)

5.                  Max Biaggi (Aprilia)

6.                  Jakub Smrz (Ducati)

7.                  Jonathan Rea (Honda)

8.                  Regis Laconi (Ducati)

9.                  Michel Fabrizio (Ducati)

10.                  Troy Corser (BMW)