Spies Wins Race One in Utah

Henny Ray Abrams | May 31, 2009

Yamaha’s Ben Spies easily won both legs of the red flag-interrupted first World Superbike race at Miller Motorsports Park to move back into second place in the championship.Spies had a 4.3 second lead when the race was stopped on the seventh of 21 laps after Karl Muggeridge crashed and his Celani Race Suzuki remained on the track. Scoring reverted to the end of the fifth lap, the last one the entire field had completed, and Spies lead was cut to just over four seconds. No matter.He didn’t get the holeshot or lead the first few corners, but he soon took control of the now 16-lap race. With four secs. in hand, he could afford to be conservative, but that was never on the books. Spies set a new race record with a 1:48.965 that gave him 1.477 secs. lead in the leg and 5.5 for the race on the first flying lap.”I thought that you would have to run mid-49’s for a few laps to be in there and then 50-flats, but we were able to stay in the mid-49’s in the early stages-we threw a low-49 and a high-48 in there-and that helped out a lot,” Spies said. “The pace was fast.”Spies continued to gap the field, incrementally at first, to stretch his margin of victory to 9.384 secs. on aggregate time.Halfway into the seventh of 14 rounds, Spies is 80 points behind Ducati Xerox’s Nori Haga-ninth in race one-257 to 187. Haga’s teammate Michel Fabrizio, third today behind Hannspree Ten Kate Honda’s Carlos Checa, is third with 181 points.Checa’s second was his best finish of the season by far. His previous best was a fifth place finish in the first race in Qatar. The Spaniard won both races at last year’s inaugural WSB round at Miller.”Yeah, the first race was really good for us the first few laps,” Spies said. “We had a big gap. Then the red flag came out and I thought they just re-started everything. And I didn’t know the whole aggregate time, so I was pretty upset about it. Then they told me I had a four second lead, so I was happy about that.”But we got to race two and I wanted to win the real race. And it was hard when Carlos (Checa) was pushing in the middle. I was trying to keep the gap the same, but I wanted to win the real race. The bike worked really good. The lap times kept going. It was nice. The feeling was good and the bike set-up was perfect. So we maybe just make a few small changes and try to do it again.”It’s going to be tough. I mean, these guys’ pace, they were quite fast, just a couple seconds back. But if they get going the first couple laps it’s definitely going to be a tough race. So we just got to make some changes, be faster, and get ready for it.”Fabrizio was 3.4 secs. behind Checa on aggregate time after passing Aprilia’s Max Biaggi on the 14th of 16 laps.Ten Kate Honda’s Ryuichi Kiyonari was fourth on aggregate time, just in front of Hannspree Ten Kate Honda’s Jonathan Rea and Biaggi.Kawasaki’s Jamie Hacking finished seventh. Hacking got the worst of the red flag. Hacking completed the fifth lap in eighth but was up to fourth when the race was stopped. Instead he went back to row two for the re-start.Stiggy Racing Honda’s Jake Zemke was 18th in leg one.Race One:

1. Ben Spies (Yamaha)

2. Carlos Checa (Honda)

3. Michel Fabrizio (Ducati)

4. Ryuichi Kiyonari (Honda)

5. Jonathan Rea (Honda)

6. Max Biaggi (Aprilia)

7. Jamie Hacking (Kawasaki)

8. Jakub Smrz (Ducati)

9. Nori Haga (Ducati)

10. Leon Haslam (Honda)


18. Jake Zemke (Honda)

Henny Ray Abrams | Contributing Editor

Abrams is the longest-serving contributor at Cycle News. Over the course of his 35-some years of writing and shooting photos, he’s covered events from MotoGP to the Motocross World Championship - and everything in between.