Qatar: Series Saturday race report

Spies (Yamaha) does Qatar double at Losail Yamaha's WSBK rookie rider Ben Spies took a spectacular double win in the second round of the Hannspree FIM Superbike World Championship at the Losail circuit in Qatar. The 24 year-old Texan powered to...

Spies (Yamaha) does Qatar double at Losail

Yamaha's WSBK rookie rider Ben Spies took a spectacular double win in the second round of the Hannspree FIM Superbike World Championship at the Losail circuit in Qatar. The 24 year-old Texan powered to his third win in the opening four races, dominating both today's 18-lappers and twice finishing ahead of Noriyuki Haga (Ducati) and Max Biaggi (Aprilia), who were classified second and third to make up identical podiums.

Race 1

Poleman Spies made his attack six laps from the end, and immediately pulled out a gap that allowed him to administer his lead until the flag. There was a great scrap for the runner-up slot between Haga and Biaggi, with the Japanese rider getting the nod. For Aprilia it was their first podium since returning to WSBK, and the Italian manufacturer's competitiveness was confirmed by fourth place for Shinya Nakano. Fifth went to Carlos Checa (Hannspree Ten Kate), the first Honda rider to the flag, who managed to hold off the attacks of the determined British duo of Shane Byrne (Sterilgarda Ducati) and Tom Sykes (Yamaha World Superbike). Troy Corser scored an encouraging ninth place for BMW, while Kawasaki notched up their first points in this year's championship with a 14th place for Broc Parkes. Max Neukirchner (Suzuki Alstare) and Michel Fabrizio (Ducati Xerox) had disappointing races, both riders crashing out.

Ben Spies (Yamaha World Superbike): "It was an extremely tough race, I had an OK start and when I got to the back of Nori and Max, we were all very strong on separate parts of the track. I was lacking a little bit off the last corner and it was very hard to make the pass, but once past, I put my head down and was able to keep it clean for the win despite a couple of mistakes."

Noriyuki Haga (Ducati Xerox): "It was quite hard at the end, I got a good start and after a few laps I was able to pass Max on the straight. A few laps more and he passed me again and it was difficult for me to catch up. I pushed on the last lap and did it and was very happy with the result."

Max Biaggi (Aprilia Racing): "I tried to keep up and have a good rhythm without losing concentration. We have a new bike and every session we try to improve, but it's not easy to win right away. These guys did a great job, I rode very hard and today I was comfy, both front and rear, and looking good."

Race 2

Spies also went on to take the win in race 2, confirming himself and his Yamaha to be the strongest combination in this early part of the season. This time the Texan had a different strategy, taking control in the early laps of the race and then gradually pulling away. Behind there was another terrific scrap for the runner-up slot between Haga and Biaggi, and once again second place went to the Japanese rider, who holds on to his points lead in the table. Ryuichi Kiyonari (Ten Kate Honda Racing) scored an excellent fourth place, but was unable to get in amongst the podium battle. Fifth place went to Sykes, while Neukirchner just got the edge over Nakano in a photo-finish. BMW made a major leap forward with Corser running fifth in the early stages, both the Australian and Xaus scoring top 10 points finishes. Michel Fabrizio (Ducati Xerox) had a day to forget with a second DNF finish in two races.

Ben Spies (Yamaha World Superbike): "Nori set a really good pace the first few laps. We were lacking just a little in acceleration and it was hard to race with him, but I put my head down and closed up, kept the same rhythm and passed him. It was a better race for me than the first one because I could concentrate on my lines, but it's going to be hard making up points on him if he keeps finishing second. It was a perfect weekend, they're not always going to be like that but we'll take them when we can."

Noriyuki Haga (Ducati Xerox): "I am really tired but happy for the result in race 2. When Ben passed me, I tried to stay with him but he is very fast. In one second he was going to 100 metres so I could not catch him! We made a good job, and I am leading the championship. Today, for me, Ben is ten years younger than me so that's why I lose!"

Max Biaggi (Aprilia Racing): "It was a great race, we confirmed our potential and the feeling we have on this track, which has always been good to me. I think the bike works well, we still have to improve but we are very pleased with the result. For sure we know these guys are a little bit quicker, they run hard and deserve what they did, but I am confident to improve during the season and get some good points."

FIM Supersport World Championship

The second round in Qatar saw the crowning of a new talent in World Supersport. Thanks to a perfect slipstreaming dash to the line, Eugene Laverty (Parkalgar Honda) scored his first win in the category. The Irish rider held off the attacks from reigning champion Andrew Pitt (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) to take the win. Former points leader Kenan Sofuoglu (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) only finished fourth after making a mistake at the final curve, which opened the door for Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha World Supersport) to gain his first WSS podium. Seven Hondas placed in the first ten positions, including the Veidec Racing and Hannspree Althea machines of Robbin Harms and Matthieu Lagrive in fifth and sixth. Garry McCoy took the ParkinGO Triumph 675 to an encouraging seventh place, while Joan Lascorz could only manage thirteenth with the Kawasaki. Massimo Roccoli (Intermoto Czech Honda), Phillip Island podium finisher Anthony West (Stiggy Racing) and Barry Veneman (Hoegee Suzuki) made up the top 10.

-credit: wsbk

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About this article
Series World Superbike
Drivers Max Biaggi , Carlos Checa , Garry McCoy , Andrew Pitt , Shinya Nakano , Noriyuki Haga , Broc Parkes , Ben Spies , Troy Corser , Shane Byrne , Michel Fabrizio , Tom Sykes , Robbin Harms , Anthony West , Barry Veneman , Max Neukirchner , Massimo Roccoli , Ryuichi Kiyonari , Cal Crutchlow , Joan Lascorz , Phillip Island