WSBK: Crash in Race 1 Could Cost the Championship

10/26/2009 @ 1:20 am, by Jensen Beeler2 COMMENTS


It’s the day that all World Superbike fans have been looking forward to, the day that the battle for the World Superbike Championship would finally come to an end. Some say it is Noriyuki Haga, who has come so close to Superbike supremacy in the past, only to miss his day by a few simple points. Others say it is Ben Spies.

The Texan has been dominating his rookie season abroad, and now with his MotoGP plans for 2010 solidified, it would be unfinished business if he left World Superbike without a Championship wreath. We think both riders have a solid argument for why they should win the crown, but talking does little for victory on the race track.

With two races at Portimao to find our champion, it would seem that all we’d need is Race 1 to find our Champion, as a costly crash early into the race by one of these riders has likely dashed their hopes for the day. More after the jump.

Ben Spies came to Portimao, expecting a great battle with Noriyuki Haga. Knowing that the Japanese Ducati rider would be bringing his best fight to the race track, Spies understood the notion that a WSBK Championship meant winning both races for the day. With this mission at heart, Spies did just that, taking Race 1 of the Portugal round of World Superbike.

Making a great start, Spies sped out to an early lead, but he would not be alone. Both Max Biaggi and Johnny Rea were close at hand to challenge the rookie American. Spies would catch an early break though as Haga lost the front-end of his bike, taking to the asphalt like a turtle on its back.

Grappling for all 25 first place points, Spies would see pressure from Biaggi, but that waned as Rea gained on the Roman Emperor. This battle for second place, allowed Spies to ride his own race and finish with a comfortable margin.

Haga’s crash was devastating for the Japanese rider. Instead of leading Spies by 10 points, as he had at the start of the race, by Race 1’s conclusion, he was 15 points behind the Yamaha rider. This translates into Spies needing only to finish 6th to clinch the World Superbike Championship, and even lower if Haga does not win Race 2. However, we’ll have to wait for Race 2, to see if Spies can truly capitalize on his Race 1 fortune.

Results from Race 1 of World Superbike at Portimao, Portugal:

119B. SpiesUSAYamaha YZF R1
265J. ReaGBRHonda CBR1000RR1.697
33M. BiaggiITAAprilia RSV4 Factory2.113
467S. ByrneGBRDucati 1098R2.757
584M. FabrizioITADucati 1098R14.753
622L. CamierGBRAprilia RSV4 Factory20.044
77C. ChecaESPHonda CBR1000RR25.634
8111R. XausESPBMW S1000 RR31.104
914M. LagriveFRAHonda CBR1000RR36.689
1015M. BaioccoITADucati 1098R39.331
1123B. ParkesAUSKawasaki ZX 10R41.827
12100M. TamadaJPNKawasaki ZX 10R41.882
1325D. SalomESPKawasaki ZX 10R54.967
1494D. ChecaESPYamaha YZF R11’38.533
1599L. ScassaITAKawasaki ZX 10R4 Laps
RET88R. ReschAUTSuzuki GSX-R 1000 K93 Laps
RET11T. CorserAUSBMW S1000 RR6 Laps
RET91L. HaslamGBRHonda CBR1000RR12 Laps
RET96J. SmrzCZEDucati 1098R14 Laps
RET50S. GuintoliFRASuzuki GSX-R 1000 K914 Laps
RET77V. IannuzzoITAHonda CBR1000RR15 Laps
RET41N. HagaJPNDucati 1098R16 Laps
RET10F. NietoESPDucati 1098R19 Laps
RET71Y. KagayamaJPNSuzuki GSX-R 1000 K9