WSB Qatar: Spies Batters Haga Again

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American new boy Ben Spies again drubbed the World Superbike Championship old guard when he won the second race at the second round of the series in Qatar on his Yamaha R1.

The former AMA  Superbike king made his afternoon’s work look easy as he completed the first lap in third place, jumped to second in the fourth lap and inherited the lead on the sixth.

Xerox Ducati’s new signing Noriyuki Haga – most people’s pre-season favourite for the title – again had to listen to the distinctive note of the crossplane-crank R1 disappearing into the distance as he had to settle for second place on a circuit that rarely favours the V-twins.

Max Biaggi repeated his first-race third place, but was delighted that the new Aprilia V4 has proved podium-competitive only two meetings into its life.

British hopes soared when Shane Byrne (Sterilgarda Ducati) locked into fourth place on the first lap. But it was Tom Sykes, the WSB newcomer having to race in Spies’ shadow on the other factory Yamaha, who finished top Brit with a great ride into fifth place behind Ryuichi Kiyonari (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda).

Max Neukirchner (Alstare Suzuki) took sixth place from Shinya Nakano on the second Aprilia, with Jonathan Rea in eighth place on the Hannspree Ten Kate Honda. From 18th place on the grid, Leon Haslam tigered up to ninth, but crossed the line in 11th in a great tussle with the factory BMWs of Troy Corser in ninth and Ruben Xaus.

Now the WSB circus moves to Valencia in Spain for the third round on April 5, when Haga must hope that a twistier circuit will favour his V-twin.

Race one:

1 Ben Spies, USA (Yamaha)
2 Noriyuki Haga, Japan (Ducati)
3 Max Biaggi, Italy (Aprilia)
4 Shinya Nakano, Japan (Aprilia)
5 Carlos Checa, Spain (Honda)
6 Shane Byrne, GB (Ducati)
7 Tom Sykes, GB (Yamaha)
8 Ryuichi Kiyonari, Japan (Honda)
9 Troy Corser, Australia (BMW)
10 Regis Laconi, France (Ducati)
11 Leon Haslam, GB (Honda)
12 Jonathan Rea, GB (Honda)
13 Ruben Xaus, Spain (BMW)
14 B Parkes, Australia (Kawasaki)
15 Tommy Hill, GB (Honda)

Race two:

1 Ben Spies, USA (Yamaha)
2 Noriyuki Haga, Japan (Ducati)
3 Max Biaggi, Italy (Aprilia)
4 Ryuichi Kiyonari, Japan (Honda)
5 Tom Sykes, GB (Yamaha)
6 Max Neukirchner, Germany (Suzuki)
7 Shinya Nakano, Japan (Aprilia)
8 Jonathan Rea, GB (Honda)
9 Troy Corser, Australia (BMW)
10 Ruben Xaus, Spain (BMW)
11 Leon Haslam, GB (Honda)
12 Shane Byrne, GB (Ducati)
13 Carlos Checa, Spain (Honda)
14 Regis Laconi, France (Ducati)
15 Yukio Kagayama, Japan (Suzuki)

Championship points:

1 Haga 85
2 Spies 75
3 Neukirchner 40
4 Biaggi 38
5 Haslam 36
6 Sykes 32
7 Laconi 30
7 Rea 30
9 Nakano 27
10 Kagayama


16 Byrne 14
18 Hill 5

Mike Nicks

By Mike Nicks