WSBK: Race 1 at Imola Takes the World Superbike Championship Up Another Level

09/27/2009 @ 5:23 pm, by Jensen Beeler4 COMMENTS


Racing went off without a hitch this Sunday, as the Imola circuit seemed devoid of earlier traction problems that almost sidelined the racing earlier this week. With Imola sitting literally in Ducati’s backyard, all eyes were on the Xerox Ducati squad, and Noriyuki Haga.

Haga, who trails Ben Spies for the first time this season coming into Imola, was especially keen on grabbing back some points from the American. Lastly, a new addition to the WSBK paddock took the form of Marco Simoncelli, who was filling in on the factory Aprilia team for the injured Shinya Nakano. A full race report with spoilers after the jump.

The Italian motorcycles clearly were dialed-in for Imola this weekend, with the Ducati’s showing strong results, as well as the RSV4’s of Biaggi and Simoncelli. So it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise to see that Race 1 at Imola was dominated by the close racing between the Italian machines, with American Ben Spies trailing and Johnny Rea a brief factor.

With Biaggi leading the majority of the first race at Imola, Sunday looked to be a good outing for the Aprilia squad. This mood was only affected by Marco Simoncelli’s early departure from the race, as he crashed while in 5th place (after moving up the second wave of riders with skill and ease). Simoncelli more than made-up for his Race 1 performance in Race 2 thought (more on that later). In fact, it looked like Biaggi might take it all the way to the podium before Haga passed him with three laps to go.

Once Haga had gotten around Max, he was never to be seen again, and Biaggi had to contend with an equally fast Michel Fabrizio, who at times was also showing Biaggi a wheel. Holding Fabrizio off through the rest of the course, Biaggi found himself on the second step of the podium. The Texan Ben Spies was less of a factor during the race, content to finish 4th for the race, and unable to match the speeds of the Italian beasts. With that result, Spies’ lead over Haga is reduced to just 6 points.

Johnny Rea also contended with the leaders, until a hot entry on lap three saw Rea cut-through the lead pack. Barely missing the pair of Xerox Ducatis as he over-shot the turn, Rea ended-up dumping the bike in the gravel, as he lightly hit the air wall. He would rejoin the race and finish 7th. Thankfully this move had no impact on the WSBK Championship standings.

Results from Race 1 of World Superbike at Imola, Italy:

141N. HagaJPNDucati 1098R
23M. BiaggiITAAprilia RSV4 Factory2.074
384M. FabrizioITADucati 1098R2.190
419B. SpiesUSAYamaha YZF R15.438
59R. KiyonariJPNHonda CBR1000RR14.470
691L. HaslamGBRHonda CBR1000RR14.685
765J. ReaGBRHonda CBR1000RR26.822
896J. SmrzCZEDucati 1098R32.694
966T. SykesGBRYamaha YZF R133.817
1023B. ParkesAUSKawasaki ZX 10R34.801
1111T. CorserAUSBMW S1000 RR35.286
12111R. XausESPBMW S1000 RR36.442
1331K. MuggeridgeAUSSuzuki GSX-R 1000 K938.698
1415M. BaioccoITADucati 1098R42.147
1571Y. KagayamaJPNSuzuki GSX-R 1000 K946.510
1699L. ScassaITAKawasaki ZX 10R46.628
1794D. ChecaESPYamaha YZF R11’16.121
1825D. SalomESPKawasaki ZX 10R1’16.398
RET77V. IannuzzoITAHonda CBR1000RR8 Laps
RET58M. SimoncelliITAAprilia RSV4 Factory12 Laps
RET67S. ByrneGBRDucati 1098R13 Laps
RET7C. ChecaESPHonda CBR1000RR14 Laps
RET10F. NietoESPDucati 1098R14 Laps
RET100M. TamadaJPNKawasaki ZX 10R16 Laps
RET124L. ConfortiITADucati 1098R16 Laps
RET14M. LagriveFRAHonda CBR1000RR18 Laps
RET57L. LanziITADucati 1098R19 Laps