WSBK: Race 2 at Portimao is All Over, But the Crying

10/26/2009 @ 1:56 am, by Jensen Beeler3 COMMENTS


With Race 1 changing two riders’ fate, the last race of the last round of the 2009 World Superbike Championship would be the only redemption left, until next year. Just as catastrophe changed the Championship in Race 1, disaster here in Race 2 could just as easily swing the pedulum. With this pressure still looming, Spies and Haga both had to be ready for a fight to the finish. Spoilers after the jump.

Despite his crash in Race 1, Haga found himself with the upper-hand in Race 2. Needing to best Spies by a margin of 15 points, Haga needed to win Race 2, and watch Spies finish 7th or lower in the pack. Surely knowing that this would be a lot to ask from the young American, who has been basically flawless all season; Haga would need to see a chink in Spies’ armor if he were to finally catch his unicorn that is the World Superbike Championship.

Fastest off the line was Shane Byrne, who has been fairly docile all season. Trailing was Ben Spies, although the American would quickly lose his position to Fabrizio, Haga, and Rea. Choosing to stay out of the fray with those riders, Spies held back in 5th place where he could comfortably win the World Superbike Championship title.

It wouldn’t be easy sailing for Spies though. Joining him was Max Biaggi, who is normally a level-headed rider, but for whatever reason, his hard racing and questionable passes on failing tires gave worry to Spies. Later recalling that Biaggi “really freaked me out”, Spies found himself battling the Italian for 5th place, which was the last thing the American wanted to do.

Somehow avoiding disaster, Spies would finish 5th for Race 2, clinching the World Superbike Championship in his rookie year. With this finish, it was of no consequence that Haga finished 2nd, behind teammate Michel Fabrizio.

After watching Rea lead for most of the race, Fabrizio finally got past the Ten Kate Honda man. Rea’s tires just didn’t seem able to go the distance, and as a result Haga was able to follow Fabrizio by, moving into the 2nd place position.

With the end of Race 2, we see the end of the 2009 World Superbike season, which is a bittersweet moment for us here at Asphalt & Rubber. We can think of reason why both riders, Haga and Spies, should have won this year’s Championship.

For Haga, he will have to try again next year where he’ll be once again campaigning with the Xerox Ducati squad. While for Spies, his journey will begin sooner rather than later, as he makes his a wildcard entry at the MotoGP’s last stop of the season in Valencia, Spain. At Valencia, we’ll get to see our first glimpse into how Team Texas will fair next year, which is an exciting prospect for American interest in MotoGP racing.

Results from Race 2 of World Superbike at Portimao, Portugal:

184M. FabrizioITADucati 1098R
241N. HagaJPNDucati 1098R1.195
365J. ReaGBRHonda CBR1000RR1.494
467S. ByrneGBRDucati 1098R5.553
519B. SpiesUSAYamaha YZF R15.842
63M. BiaggiITAAprilia RSV4 Factory7.374
722L. CamierGBRAprilia RSV4 Factory9.658
896J. SmrzCZEDucati 1098R10.434
911T. CorserAUSBMW S1000 RR17.010
1050S. GuintoliFRASuzuki GSX-R 1000 K924.509
1171Y. KagayamaJPNSuzuki GSX-R 1000 K927.195
1223B. ParkesAUSKawasaki ZX 10R34.825
1314M. LagriveFRAHonda CBR1000RR35.135
1499L. ScassaITAKawasaki ZX 10R1’01.842
1594D. ChecaESPYamaha YZF R11’09.782
16100M. TamadaJPNKawasaki ZX 10R1’30.818
1725D. SalomESPKawasaki ZX 10R4 Laps
RET15M. BaioccoITADucati 1098R7 Laps
RET91L. HaslamGBRHonda CBR1000RR14 Laps
RET7C. ChecaESPHonda CBR1000RR15 Laps
RET111R. XausESPBMW S1000 RR15 Laps
RET10F. NietoESPDucati 1098R15 Laps
RET77V. IannuzzoITAHonda CBR1000RR19 Laps