The turning point of 2009 came at the Nurburgring in Germany. Heading into the meeting, Noriyuki Haga still enjoyed a seven point over Spies, but that was all about to change.
From the start of the Nurburgring race weekend, Haga was in dominant mood. With his Ducati ideally suited to the low grip undulating track, the double winner from 2008 was going to take some beating and he knew it.
In stark contrast the normally unflappable Spies looked rattled. Two crashes in practice and qualifying left the American down in fifth on the grid. His first and only time off the front row during the season.
But when the lights went out for race two, Spies put all that behind him to catch pass and beat Haga. On paper it was a race the Ducati man should have won. Haga knew that and so did Spies, making the defeat hard to swallow and the turning point of the season.