WSBK: Valencia Race 1 Results

04/06/2009 @ 2:11 am, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT


The World Superbike Championship visited Valencia this weekend. With three poles and three wins in a row, all eyes were on Ben Spies at the start of the first Superbike race, wondering if the American could close the 10 point lead that Noriyuki Haga had over him. A sweep of the weekend’s races, could mean that Spies could be leading the series, or at the very least tied with Haga, depending on how the Japanese rider fared. Conversely, Haga with a strong showing could lengthen his early lead over the field. With Spies showing almost a full second on Haga at the Superpole, this would be no easy feat. Continue reading for spoilers from Race 1 of the Valencia World Superbike Races, and to see how Race 1 sorted itself out.


It was Spies who was of course at the head of the grid after his masterful showing at the Superpole on Saturday. Seemingly unstoppable, the crowd was shocked when Spies miffed his launch at the start of the race, and entered into the first corner in fifth place, behind a contingency of Ducatis. Regis Laconi led the way, ahead of Noriyuki Haga, Max Neukirchner and Troy Corser. Laconi would not hold the lead for long though, as Haga, followed by Neukirchner, passed Laconi a few corners later. Coming onto the front straightaway, Neukirchner used the speed of his Suzuki to take the lead over Haga at the start line, but Haga was able to move inside of the German, and take the lead back after the exit of the first turn of the second la.

Aidied by Troy Corser who crashed out, Spies was able to take 3rd place by the end of the fifth lap. By this time, Haga had a 2 secondslead over Max Neukirchner,  and 2.7 seconds over Spies. Over the course of the next four laps, Spies would chase down Neukirchner, but ended up pushing the front end of his Yamaha too hard, and ended up in the gravel. On his next lap, Haga’s pit board read “19 OUT”, signaling Haga to not push his luck too hard for the rest of the race, and cruise to a comfortable victory.

While first place was quickly settled, the race for second was much closer. Max Neukirchner looked to have a firm hold on the second step of the podium, but Haga’s Ducati team mate Michel Fabrizio was charging hard through the field. Crossing the line in 8th place on the first lap, the Italian fought his way forward, then closed steadily on Neukirchner as the race reached its conclusion. With three laps to go, Fabrizio was close enough to pull out of Neukirchner’s draft at the end of the straight, passing the German into Turn 1. Neukirchner was not able to repass the Italian, and had to settle for third, ceding the top two steps to the Xerox Ducati riders. Regis Laconi finished just off the podium to make it three Ducatis in the top four.

In his first WSBK outing, John Hopkins finished 11th on the Stiggy Honda, the second Honda across the line, and ahead of Ryuichi Kiyonari on the Ten Kate Racing machine. The other Ten Kate riders had a nightmare of a race, Johnny Rea crashing out on the first lap, Carlos Checa running off twice, before finally pulling into the pits.

Of the new manufacturers to enter the series, Max Biaggi finished best, fighting his way forward from 18th on the grid to take 8th place on the Aprilia, while Ruben Xaus was the sole BMW to finish, climbing from 19th on the grid to take a couple of points in 13th.


Results from Race 1 of the World Superbike Stop at Valencia:

Pos No. Rider Country Bike Fastest Lap Diff Laps
1 41 N. Haga JPN Ducati 1098R 1’34.862  – 23
2 84 M. Fabrizio ITA Ducati 1098R 1’35.179 3.677 23
3 76 M. Neukirchner GER Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K9 1’35.033 3.959 23
4 55 R. Laconi FRA Ducati 1098R 1’35.121 4.210 23
5 91 L. Haslam GBR Honda CBR1000RR 1’35.381 13.824 23
6 71 Y. Kagayama JPN Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K9 1’35.287 14.562 23
7 66 T. Sykes GBR Yamaha YZF R1 1’35.562 15.155 23
8 3 M. Biaggi ITA Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1’35.372 16.316 23
9 67 S. Byrne GBR Ducati 1098R 1’35.680 20.361 23
10 23 B. Parkes AUS Kawasaki ZX 10R 1’35.521 23.878 23
11 121 J. Hopkins USA Honda CBR1000RR 1’35.778 30.902 23
12 9 R. Kiyonari JPN Honda CBR1000RR 1’36.082 31.298 23
13 111 R. Xaus ESP BMW S1000 RR 1’36.477 32.660 23
14 100 M. Tamada JPN Kawasaki ZX 10R 1’36.588 42.156 23
15 33 T. Hill GBR Honda CBR1000RR 1’36.768 43.040 23
16 31 K. Muggeridge AUS Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K9 1’36.575 45.204 23
17 86 A. Badovini ITA Kawasaki ZX 10R 1’37.146 52.023 23
18 99 L. Scassa ITA Kawasaki ZX 10R 1’37.212 52.474 23
19 25 D. Salom ESP Kawasaki ZX 10R 1’36.946 55.775 23
20 15 M. Baiocco ITA Kawasaki ZX 10R 1’37.021 56.202 23
RET 7 C. Checa ESP Honda CBR1000RR 1’35.471 2 Laps 21
RET 94 D. Checa ESP Yamaha YZF R1 1’37.029 10 Laps 13
RET 24 B. Roberts AUS Ducati 1098R 1’36.222 11 Laps 12
RET 19 B. Spies USA Yamaha YZF R1 1’35.276 14 Laps 9
RET 77 V. Iannuzzo ITA Honda CBR1000RR 1’37.046 14 Laps 9
RET 88 R. Resch AUT Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K9 1’37.743 17 Laps 6
RET 96 J. Smrz CZE Ducati 1098R 1’35.638 18 Laps 5
RET 11 T. Corser AUS BMW S1000 RR   22 Laps 1
RET 65 J. Rea GBR Honda CBR1000RR   22 Laps 1