Spies Takes Over Championship Lead

Paul Carruthers | September 6, 2009

Texan  Ben Spies celebrated his new two-year Yamaha contract by taking over the World Superbike Championship lead for the first time with a one-two day in the German round of the series at the Nurburgring, with former title leader Nori Haga and the Ducati Xerox team having far less to celebrate.Spies, who was confirmed by Yamaha for two years at the start of the weekend, passed championship leader Haga on the tenth of 20 laps before going on to win the first race by 3.85 seconds. The win closed the championship gap to two points.In the second race he took over second from Stiggy Honda’s Leon Haslam on lap 13 of 20, then chased Hannspree Ten Kate Honda’s Jonathan Rea to the flag, looking for an opening in the final several laps, but ultimately unable to make a move. Spies finished second by .786 of a second, though the gap was closer than that for the final several laps.It was the second race that was a disaster for Haga. The Japanese rider crashed in turn one on the fifth lap after making contact with Rea, who’d comeup the inside of him in the tight right-hander. When Haga came back to the inside, the pair made contact and Haga went down. The result is that Spies now has an 18-point lead, 364-346, with three rounds/six races, remaining.Hannspree Ten Kate Honda’s Carlos Checa scored his best finish of the year with third place finishes in both races.Rea had finished fourth in race one, just behind Checa, with both comfortably in front of Aprilia’s Max Biaggi. Biaggi improved one spot to finish fourth in race two, again beating Stiggy Honda’s Haslam, who he’d beaten in race one to finish fifth.Haslam’s teammate John Hopkins was involved in a first-lap crash in race one. He was taken to the hospital for a precautionary check-up, though it wasn’t believed he suffered serious injuries.RACE ONE1. Ben Spies (Yamaha)

2. Noriyujki Haga (Ducati)

3. Carlos Checa (Honda)

4. Jonathan Rea (Honda)

5. Max Biaggi (Aprilia)

6. Leon Haslam (Honda)

7. Michel Fabrizio (Ducati)

8. Troy Corser (BMW)

9. Tom Sykes (Yamaha)

10. Shane Byrne (Ducati)RACE TWO1. Jonathan Rea (Honda)

2. Ben Spies (Yamaha)

3. Carlos Checa (Honda)

4. Max Biaggi (Aprilia)

5. Leon Haslam (Honda)

6. Troy Corser (BMW)

7. Ryuichi Kiyonari (Honda)

8. Tom Sykes (Yamaha)

9. Michel Fabrizio (Ducati)

10. Yukio Kagayama (Suzuki)

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.