Total domination by Spies in Utah US Round at Miller Motorsports Park Ben Spies (Yamaha World Superbike) annihilated the opposition in the Utah US Round of the Hannspree FIM Superbike World Championship at Miller Motorsports Park, picking up his...
Total domination by Spies in Utah US Round at Miller Motorsports Park
Ben Spies (Yamaha World Superbike) annihilated the opposition in the Utah US Round of the Hannspree FIM Superbike World Championship at Miller Motorsports Park, picking up his second double win of the year in his rookie SBK season. In front of 47,300 spectators the Texan again reopened the title battle in a championship that following Kyalami appeared to be firmly in the hands of Ducati. Noriyuki Haga (Ducati Xerox), who crashed heavily in practice, ran the two races in a bruised state, finishing ninth and eighth. The Japanese rider lost ground to Spies as well as to his team-mate Michel Fabrizio, who finished third and second. With the season now at its mid-point Haga leads on 265 points, with Spies up to 212 and Fabrizio on 201.
Spies dominated the first race to cut the gap at the top of the table, as Haga could only finish in ninth place, losing 18 points in the process. The race was interrupted on lap 7 after a crash involving Australian Karl Muggeridge (Celani Suzuki), who only came away with a few bruises. Spies powered away again in the second part to win by a comfortable margin on aggregate times. Behind Spies finished Spain's Carlos Checa (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda), last year's double winner, and third place went to Fabrizio who was slowed by two poor starts. It was a good day for Ten Kate Honda as Ryuichi Kiyonari and Jonathan Rea came home in fourth and fifth position respectively. Max Biaggi started from row 4 but worked his way up to sixth position at the flag on his Aprilia RSV4 machine.
Ben Spies: "We've been working on our starts a bit and this is a long straightaway and I really needed to get a good one here. After the restart it was tough because I really wanted to win on the road and couldn't take too many risks to keep Carlos at bay. I just wanted to cross the line first even though I had a six-second cushion."
Carlos Checa: "From the beginning Ben was too strong today. I didn't have so much grip in the first part but then we adjusted the tyre pressure and it was better in the second. The Honda is working well here, we have a good base from last year and we used that benefit to get at a certain level and get a good result. We needed this result because it has not been so good for us since the start of the year."
Michel Fabrizio: "It's a pity about the second start, I felt a bit like a ping-pong ball, because I was under attack from all sides by three of four other guys. Luckily, I managed to stay upright. Afterwards I managed to run at my own pace and get onto the podium for a good result."
The second race was similar to the first, with the three-times AMA Superbike champion Spies taking the lead at the first turn and never relinquishing it. Fabrizio this time got off to an excellent start and was second at the first corner, the Italian managing to keep Spies in his sights for over half the race before settling for the runner-up slot. Checa crashed out on lap 4, leaving the battle for the final podium place to be fought out between Rea, Leon Haslam (Stiggy Racing Honda), who crashed out on the final lap, and Biaggi, competitive in the race after problems in qualifying. Kiyonari, Jakub Smrz (Guandalini Ducati) and Shinya Nakano (Aprilia Racing) all finished ahead of Haga in eighth. It was an encouraging race for Kawasaki, with Parkes and Hacking often running inside the top 10, but BMW again had a difficult time of things with Xaus and Corser finishing outside the top 15.
Ben Spies: "That was a tough race, I almost feel like I robbed Michel because he rode fantastic. I tried to set a good pace but a pace that was comfortable and every time he took a tenth out I had to put a tenth back to keep him at bay. Then in the last six laps I pulled the pin and held it to the end. It's good to get a double win here, unfortunately we know Haga's not 100% but you've got to capitalize on the weekend and we made up some points."
Michel Fabrizio: "It was a good weekend, I tried every way possible until five or six laps from the end to give some problems to Ben but in my attempt to catch up to him I pusher a bit too hard and finished the front tyre so there was nothing I could do."
Jonathan Rea: "The guys have put a great bike under me this weekend, we've done some good development, but I've never had to race as slow as I could for third place because I had a few problems with the front and the front tyre. Ben and Michel put on a great run at the front, I couldn't go with them. I could see a big gaggle of riders behind me, and thought I'd keep something in reserve until the end but I couldn't see what happened with Leon's crash. Anyway it was my second podium in two rounds so I'm very happy.
Kenan Sofuoglu (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) emerged the winner from the thrilling final lap of a race-long battle between four riders and three different makes: Honda, Yamaha and Kawasaki. With just one lap to go the 2007 champion first passed points leader Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha World Supersport), and then three turns from the chequered flag made a decisive move on Eugene Laverty (Parkalgar Honda), who had led from the start. For the Turkish rider it was the 13th win of his career, and the 67th for Honda in Supersport. The Ten Kate Honda rider is now back in contention in the points standings, third on 108 points behind leader Crutchlow on 135 and Laverty on 126. Kawasaki Provec scored a good fourth place with Joan Lascorz, who started from pole. Gianluca Nannelli (ParkinGO Triumph ) crashed out of the battle for fifth, which eventually went to Fabien Foret (Yamaha World Supersport), but Garry McCoy held the Triumph flag high with a positive sixth place. Seventh went to 2008 champion Andrew Pitt (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda), who started from the final row of the grid.