Rea Gets His First

Paul Carruthers | June 21, 2009

Brit Jonathan Rea won the first World Superbike race of his career today in Misano, Italy and it’s one the Hannspree Honda man worked for as he battled Ducati Xerox teammates Michel Fabrizio and Noriyuki Haga to the bitter end – passing Fabrizio on the final lap to win by just .063 of a second.Haga was third, but still managed to gain nine points over first-race winner Ben Spies, the Texan crossing the line ninth in race two after an eventful race. Spies had clutch trouble early, dropping from second to 17th in the first two laps. He would later be able to adjust the clutch on the fly and would start clicking off fast laps again, but time ran out as he closed in on the battle for seventh between his Yamaha teammate and Stiggy Honda’s Leon Haslam and Spies came up half a second short of Haslam at the finish line.The other American in the race, Jamie Hacking, stalled the factory Kawasaki on the line and started some 12 seconds down on the leaders. He would end up 22nd.Spies now trails Haga in the championship by 48 points, 292-244, as the series starts its second half.The race at the front went to the end with Rea taking the lead from Haga on the fourth of 24 laps with Fabrizio, Jakub Smrz, Carlos Checa and Shane Byrne in hot pursuit. With Rea threatening to run away and leading by almost half a second on the ninth lap, Haga got back around Fabrizio. Then, on the 12th lap, Haga set his fastest lap of 1:37.1 to pull right to the back of Rea with Fabrizio joining them.Fabrizio, who first slipped by Haga, moved by Rea for the first time to lead on the 17th lap. On the 19th lap, Rea passed Fabrizio with Haga right behind and just .2 of a second covering all three.Behind them Checa was fourth and Smrz had passed Byrne for fifth. Spies, meanwhile, was up to 10th and would move to ninth with a pass of Aprilia’s Max Biaggi.On the final lap, Rea passed Fabrizio going into the final corner and held him off at the line to earn his first-ever World Superbike victory. Rea had finished an eventful seventh in the first race. The victory also vaulted Rea to fourth in the championship. He trails Haga, Spies and Fabrizio.Smrz was able to get by Checa for fourth, but the Spaniard did hold off Byrne who came up just a 10th short of fifth at the line. Then came Sykes, Haslam and Spies.

Race Two

1. Jonathan Rea (Honda)

2. Michel Fabrizio (Ducati)

3. Noriyuki Haga (Ducati)

4. Jakub Smrz (Ducati)

5. Carlos Checa (Honda)

6. Shane Byrne (Ducati)

7. Tom Sykes (Yamaha)

8. Leon Haslam (Honda)

9. Ben Spies (Yamaha)

10. Max Biaggi (Aprilia)22. Jamie Hacking (Kawasaki)

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.