Spies Doubles at Donington

Paul Carruthers | June 28, 2009

Yamaha’s Ben Spies closed to within 14 points of the World Superbike championship points lead by sweeping both races, while points leader Nori Haga (Xerox Ducati) crashed heavily out of race two at Donington Park in England.”It was a picture perfect weekend,” Spies said before expressing concern for Haga. “I hope he’s OK, because that’s not the way you want to do it, but we’ve got to capitalize when things do go wrong.By winning his tenth race, and Haga not finishing, Spies now has 294 points to Haga’s 308 after nine of 14 rounds. Ducati Marlboro’s Michel Fabrizio, third in race two, is third with 257 points.Spies not only swept both races, but he set the fastest lap in both, only the 18th time that had been done in World Superbike history. The last time was when Spies did it at Miller Motorsports Park at the end of May.”The first race was not easier, but easier to concentrate,” Spies said. “In the second race I was almost having to do one lap at a time pretty hard to kinda keep my rhythm going and it’s hard racing with those big of gaps, because you can’t just stop and you don’t want to push and do something stupid. So, it was quite difficult, but we managed through it and, yeah, I can’t thank the Yamaha guys enough. We changed a lot of things around and they came and delivered me two great bikes.”Spies didn’t get the holeshot-that went to Aprilia’s Max Biaggi-but was in the lead by the turn two Hollywood corner and for the duration.The Texan was able to stretch his advantage with ease, unbothered by what would be mayhem behind him.The first rider out was Aprilia’s Shinya Nakano, whose day ended on lap two with a vicious high-side coming out of the Old Hairpin, the Japanese coming off at about 90 mph and falling onto his back. Hannspree Ten Kate Honda’s Jonathan Rea, one of the local favorites, lost the rear at the apex of Goddard’s, the hairpin left leading onto the front. He was able to continue. Kawasaki’s Jamie Hacking was out on the same lap.Haga took over third on the second lap behind Spies and Biaggi, with Haslam fourth and Fabrizio fifth. Then Biaggi crashed in the Melbourne Loop, picked up his Aprilia, and bumped into another rider as he got going. He would finish out of the points.On the fifth lap, Haga took himself off with a heavy fall into the left-hand Redgate, the Ducati beating him up as they both tumbled into the grass and into the gravel. Hannspree Ten Kate Honda’s Carlos Checa was out on that lap, as was his brother, David.With many of the top runners out, Spies was off and flying on his way to a 6.622 secs. victory.”It was a good race for us. The track was definitely hot in the second race and it was a little bit slick,” he said. “We made some changes to the bike that made it better. Fortunately, we didn’t have to push it to the absolute limit, but it worked great.”The bike was excellent, no mistakes, and I’m pretty happy now.”Fabrizio battled Stiggy Racing Honda’s Leon Haslam from the start and on the ninthlap when they were joined by Sterilgarda’s Shane Byrne (Duc). Byrne made his way past Fabrizio, but the Italian countered on lap 20 of 23 to secure third behind Haslam, who earned a podium in his home race. The trio was covered by .7 secs.”Yeah, it’s been a few rounds” since he was on the podium, Haslam said. “We’ve been struggling these last few rounds, circuits we’ve not known. Obviously, the home race we really wanted to get on that podium. So, yeah, it feels good. Obviously, felt sorry for Haga; he was pushing hard and it was a big crash there. So fair play to Ben (Spies). He had it dialed in today and I was pretty happy to get second to him today.”Following the battle for the podium there was a gap to Spies’ teammate Tom Sykes, another of the British contingent, who beat wild card Leon Camier (Yam) for fifth, with Ten Kate Honda’s Ryuichi Kiyonari seventh.Airwaves Yamaha’s wild card James Ellison rebounded from a first race crash to finish eighth, one up on BMW’s Ruben Xaus.Blake Young finished 17th riding the Alstare Suzuki Brux bike in place of the injured Max Neukirchner. Stiggy Racing Honda’s John Hopkins chose not to race after finishing eighth in the first race.

Race Two:

1. Ben Spies (Yamaha)

2. Leon Haslam (Honda)

3. Michel Fabrizio (Ducati)

4. Shane Byrne (Ducati)

5. Tom Sykes (Yamaha)

6. Leon Camier (Yamaha)

7. Ryuichi Kiyonari (Honda)

8. James Ellison (Yamaha)

9. Ruben Xaus (BMW)

10. Simon Andrews (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.