Haslam Takes Race One

Paul Carruthers | February 27, 2010

Leon Haslam won the first World Superbike race of his career today at Phillip Island in Australia, the Brit beating Ducati Xerox’s Michel Fabrizio by a scant .004 of a second in his debut on the Alstare Suzuki team. The race was so close that a photo finish actually reversed the decision as Fabrizio was initially declared the winner.Haslam led each of the 22 laps with Fabrizio moving into second for good on the third lap. It was a position the Italian would hold, coming up just inches behind Haslam at the finish as he got the better drive out of the final corner to almost nip the Brit at the line. Haslam’s win was Suzuki’s first in World Superbike since Max Neukirchner won on a GSX-R1000 in Misano in 2008.Third place in the first of two races at Phillip Island went to Fabrizio’s teammate Noriyuki Haga, the Japanese rider bouncing back after qualifying only 10th and suffering a big crash in this morning’s warm-up with Ruben Xaus to finish a shadow third – just .789 of a second behind the Haslam/Fabrizio scrap.Then came a gap of some 10 seconds to a battle between Hannspree Ten Kate Honda’s Jonathan Rea, Aprilia’s Max Biaggi, Alstare Suzuki’s Sylvain Guintoli and Althea Racing Ducati’s Carlos Checa, the foursome finishing in that order and separated by just a second.Team Pata Ducati’s Jakub Smrz was eighth, five seconds behind the pack in front of him and four seconds ahead of BMW’s Troy Corser. DFX Corse Ducati’s Lorenzo Lanzi rounded out the top 10 finishers.There were plenty of fast man outside the top 10 with Aprilia’s Leon Camier beating Hannspree Ten Kate Honda’s Max Neukirchner, Kawasaki’s Tom Skyes and Althea’s Shane Byrne to the line.American Roger Lee Hayden finished 18th in his World Superbike debut on the Pedercini Kawasaki.Among the non-finishers was the entire Yamaha team – last year’s World Champions – with Cal Crutchlow and James Toseland both crashing out of the race. Kawasaki’s Chris Vermeulen also crashed out.

Race One

1.                  Leon Haslam (Suzuki)

2.                  Michel Fabrizio (Ducati)

3.                  Noriyuki Haga (Ducati)

4.                  Jonathan Rea (Honda)

5.                  Max Biaggi (Aprilia)

6.                  Sylvain Guintoli (Suzuki)

7.                  Carlos Checa (Ducati)

8.                  Jakub Smrz (Ducati)

9.                  Troy Corser (BMW)

10.                  Lorenzo Lanzi (Ducati)18. Roger Lee Hayden (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.