Kyalami Race One: It’s Haga

Cycle News Staff | May 17, 2009

Just when it looked as though momentum had swung to both his teammate Michel Fabrizio and Yamaha’s Ben Spies, World Superbike veteran Noriyuki Haga put them both in their place with a victory in race one today in Kyalami, South Africa.Haga was fast from the get-go in today’s opener, but gave way to his teammate Fabrizio later in the race before rebounding to take victory, leaving Fabrizio to fend off Spies for second place.The battle between those two went until very late in the race. But that’s when Spies made a mistake and got his R1 out of shape, allowing Fabrizio to get a gap – a gap he would take to the finish line to give the Ducati Xerox team a one-two finish. Haga would beat his teammate to the line by .950 of a second with Spies some three more seconds behind.Behind the top three, Hannspree Ten Kate Honda’s Jonathan Rea held off Aprilia’s Max Biaggi to finish fourth, with Biaggi rounding out the top five. Those two had gone at it for most of the race, with Biaggi’s final-turn attempt at a pass forcing him to run wide, giving the Irishman a chance to come back past to take the spot.Rea’s teammate Carlos Checa was fifth early on, but would give way to his teammate Rea and also Biaggi, the Spaniard finishing sixth in the run up to the round in which he tasted victory last year – Miller Motorsports Park.Then came Biaggi’s Aprilia teammate Shinya Nakano, just fractions behind Checa and less than a second ahead of Alstare Suzuki’s Yukio Kagayama. From there it was a big gap back to a battle between Brits Shane Byrne and Tom Sykes, with Byrne riding his GBR Sterilgarda Ducati to ninth with Sykes rounding out the top 10 on his factory Yamaha R1.BMW’s Ruben Xaus went out of the race early when the Spaniard crashed on the second lap. Stiggy Honda’s Leon Haslam did likewise later in the race with those two the only non-finishers.Haga’s win was his fifth of the season and it puts him even in the win tally with Spies. In the championship point standings, however, the consistent Haga is well clear. He now leads Spies by 63 points, 225-162. Fabrizio is third with 145 points heading into today’s second race.Race One

1.                  Noriyuki Haga (Ducati)

2.                  Michel Fabrizio (Ducati)

3.                  Ben Spies (Yamaha)

4.                  Jonathan Rea (Honda)

5.                  Max Biaggi (Aprilia)

6.                  Carlos Checa (Honda)

7.                  Shinya Nakano (Aprilia)

8.                  Yukio Kagayama (Suzuki)

9.                  Shane Byrne (Ducati)

10.                  Tom Sykes (Yamaha)