Riding a bike that he said felt like a 600, Yamaha's Ben Spies wasn't able to stick with the battle for the lead in today's opening race of the World Superbike round at Imola, the Texan ending up fourth with his championship rival Noriyuki Haga taking the win.The win was Haga's first since South Africa and he was able to pull away in the final laps to beat Aprilia's Max Biaggi. Haga's teammate Michel Fabrizio was a fighting third.With Haga winning and Spies finishing fourth, the Texan's lead in the World Championship is down to six points.It was Biaggi leading early and doing most of the leading, but in the end it was Haga who had the most in reserve and he was able to take the win.Marco Simoncelli, the Aprilia World Superbike rookie and the current 250cc World Champion, was impressing as he moved into fifth early on, but he crashed out of the race on the 10th lap - the same spot that had claimed Carlos Checa and Shane Byrne.It was on the 18th lap that Haga made his move and from there the Japanese rider was clear to the finish, with Biaggi getting harrassed by Fabrizio in their battle for second. Spies was closer than he was at the start, but still not close enough to challenge for a podium spot.Biaggi ended up getting the better of Fabrizio by just .001 of a second at the line. Spies was fourth - some five seconds behind Haga.Honda's Ryuichi Kiyonari would eventually finish fifth, topping Stiggy Honda's Leon Haslam with a last-corner pass.Ten Kate Hannspree Honda's Jonathan Rea recovered from a tip-over that left him in last place to finish sevfenth. Czech Jakub Smrz was eight with Spies' teammate Tom Sykes and Broc Parkes rounding out the top 10.

Race One

1.                  Noriyuki Haga (Ducati)

2.                  Max Biaggi (Aprilia)

3.                  Michel Fabrizio (Ducati)

4.                  Ben Spies (Yamaha)

5.                  Ryuichi Kiyonari (Honda)

6.                  Leon Haslam (Honda)

7.                  Jonathan Rea (Honda)

8.                  Jakub Smrz (Ducati)

9.                  Tom Sykes (Yamaha)

10.                  Broc Parkes (Kawasaki)

World Superbike Headlines

By Cycle News Staff

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