Drama And Heartbreak In Monza

Paul Carruthers | May 10, 2009

Ducati Xerox’s Michel Fabrizio won the first race of his World Superbike career today at Monza, the Italian stealing victory from Ben Spies in the final corner when Spies slowed with a fuel problem.Spies looked set for a fifth win on the season after holding back the advances of Fabrizio and his teammate and World Championship points leader Noriyuki Haga, but his factory Yamaha R1 slowed through the final corner – the famous Parabolica – and he coasted across the finish line in a heart-breaking 15th.The race was full of drama and started with an horrific accident that put five riders on the ground right at the start. Makoto Tamada and Branden Roberts went on the grass after contact back in the pack and they both crashed. What ensued was mayhem when Roberts’ Guandalini Ducati went across the track and into the path of others, the bike hitting Alstare Suzuki’s MaxNeukirchner with the German crashing and suffering a broken right femur. Then Tommy Hill and BMW’s Troy Corser also went down with one of the bikes catching fire.That all led to a red flag and a lengthy delay before the restart as workers cleaned the debrie from the start. Corser would make the restart, but would crash again on the opening lap.Tamada has a suspected broken left wrist and it appears as though Roberts also suffered a broken leg and thorax trauma.When the race was finally restarted it was a good one with Haga leading early before giving way to his teammate Fabrizio. Spies, though, was in a hurry and in third place with Alstare Suzuki’s Yukio Kagayama and Aprilia’s Max Biaggi giving chase.Spies grabbed the lead for the first time on the fifth lap and gapped the rest, though Haga would come good and stay with him as Fabrizio started to fade. But Fabrizio wasn’t finished either and he was soon past Haga and into second place – a second behind Spies. On the 16th lap, Fabrizio passed Spies, but the two made contact later in the lap with Spies taking over the stop spot again.Spies turned it up on the penultimate lap and looked to have a clear run to the finish line. But he would slow halfway around Parabolica with a small trace of smoke coming from the back of the R1 – though it would turn out to be a fuel problem. Spies parked the bike after crossing the line in a disappointing 15th place.Fabrizio took the first win of his career with Haga second and the Aprilia of Biaggi in third, though that would later be changed after the Italian was penalized 20 seconds for cutting one of the chicanes. The penalty dropped Biaggi down to 11th and moved Ten Kate Honda’s Ryuichi Kiyonari to third with Kagayama fourth.Hannspree Ten Kate Honda’s Jonathan Rea was fifth over Yamaha’s Tom Sykes. Ruben Xaus gave BMW its best-ever finish with his seventh, clear of DFX Ducati’s Regis Laconi. Carlos Checa rode his Honda to ninth with Broc Parkes finishing 10th on the Kawasaki.Stiggy Honda’s Jake Zemke finished 18th in his World Superbike debut as the fill-in rider for John Hopkins.

Race One

1.                  Michel Fabrizio (Ducati)

2.                  Noriyuki Haga (Ducat)

3.                  Ryuichi Kiyonari (Honda)

4.                  Yukio Kagayama (Suzuki)

5.                  Jonathan Rea (Honda)

6.                  Tom Sykes (Yamaha)

7.                  Ruben Xaus (BMW)

8.                  Regis Laconi (Ducati)

9.                  Carlos Checa (Honda)

10.                  Broc Parkes (Kawasaki)15. Ben Spies (Yamaha)18. Jake Zemke (Honda)

Paul Carruthers | Editor

Paul Carruthers took over as the editor of Cycle News in 1993 after serving as associate editor since starting his career at the publication in 1985. Carruthers has covered every facet of the sport in his near-28-year tenure at America's Daily Motorcycle News Source.