Haga Perfect In Kyalami

Cycle News Staff | May 17, 2009

Ben Spies’ World Championship hopes took a serious blow in today’s second race at the Kyalami circuit in South Africa with the Texan pulling into the pits on just the third lap with a broken shifter on his Yamaha R. From there all he could do was watch as Ducati Xerox’s Noriyuki Haga and his teammate Michel Fabrizio battled for victory, with championship points leader Haga ultimately taking the victory – his second on the day.Haga and Fabrizio battled for the entire 24 laps with the pair never separated by more than a second. Starting the final lap, just .402 of a second seperated them but it was Haga at the line by .322 of a second for his sixth win of the season.Haga’s win puts Spies 88 points behind the Ducati star – and it also dropped him to third in the standings as Fabrizio snuck by with his second place. Haga has 250 points to Fabrizio’s 165 with Spies stuck on 162.Third place in race two went to Hannspree Ten Kate Honda’s Jonathan Rea, the Irishman enjoying his best finish of the season and his first trip to a World Superbike podium. Rea was locked in a duel with Stiggy Honda’s Leon Haslam and the factory Aprilia of Max Biaggi throughout the 24 lapper, but got the better of those two at the end to beat Haslam by 1.6 seconds. Haslam, meanwhile, was just .2 of a second over Biaggi at the flag.Then came another battle that went the duration with Hannspree Ten Kate Honda’s Carlos Checa eding Shinya Nakano and the second factory Aprilia by just .2 of a second for sixth place.Eighth place went to Alstare Suzuki’s Yukio Kagayama with Yamaha’s Tom Sykes and Guandalini Ducati’s Jakub Smrz rounding out the top 10.Haga, Spies, Rea and Biaggi were the leading foursome in the first few corners, but Spies was quickly out of the running as he looked down at the left side of the Yamaha while coasting into the final stadium section on just the third lap. The team fixed the shifter, but chose not to send him back out as he would have finished out of the points.That left Haga in the lead with Fabrizio starting to charge forward. The man on the move early in the race, though, was Haslam, who was determined to make up for his race one crash. He would move to fourth where he would stay, battling Rea and Biaggi to the bitter end.Meanwhile, BMW’s Ruben Xaus and Suzuki privateer Karl Muggeridge tangled with Muggeridge crashing and Xaus forced to pit. Shane Byrne also crashed his Ducati early in the race.The battle for the win came down to the final lap with Fabrizio trying everything he could to make a pass in the final corner. His attempted pushed him wide on the exit and Haga was able to skate through on the inside for his sixth win of the season.

Race Two

1.                  Noriyuki Haga (Ducati)

2.                  Michel Fabrizio (Ducati)

3.                  Jonathan Rea (Honda)

4.                  Leon Haslam (Honda)

5.                  Max Biaggi (Aprilia)

6.                  Carlos Checa (Honda)

7.                  Shinya Nakano (Aprilia)

8.                  Yukio Kagayama (Suzuki)

9.                  Tom Sykes (Yamaha)

10.                  Jakub Smrz (Ducati)