WSBK: Crash in Race 1 Could Cost the Championship

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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:

Pos. Num. Rider Country Bike Diff
1 19 B. Spies USA Yamaha YZF R1
2 65 J. Rea GBR Honda CBR1000RR 1.697
3 3 M. Biaggi ITA Aprilia RSV4 Factory 2.113
4 67 S. Byrne GBR Ducati 1098R 2.757
5 84 M. Fabrizio ITA Ducati 1098R 14.753
6 22 L. Camier GBR Aprilia RSV4 Factory 20.044
7 7 C. Checa ESP Honda CBR1000RR 25.634
8 111 R. Xaus ESP BMW S1000 RR 31.104
9 14 M. Lagrive FRA Honda CBR1000RR 36.689
10 15 M. Baiocco ITA Ducati 1098R 39.331
11 23 B. Parkes AUS Kawasaki ZX 10R 41.827
12 100 M. Tamada JPN Kawasaki ZX 10R 41.882
13 25 D. Salom ESP Kawasaki ZX 10R 54.967
14 94 D. Checa ESP Yamaha YZF R1 1’38.533
15 99 L. Scassa ITA Kawasaki ZX 10R 4 Laps
RET 88 R. Resch AUT Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K9 3 Laps
RET 11 T. Corser AUS BMW S1000 RR 6 Laps
RET 91 L. Haslam GBR Honda CBR1000RR 12 Laps
RET 96 J. Smrz CZE Ducati 1098R 14 Laps
RET 50 S. Guintoli FRA Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K9 14 Laps
RET 77 V. Iannuzzo ITA Honda CBR1000RR 15 Laps
RET 41 N. Haga JPN Ducati 1098R 16 Laps
RET 10 F. Nieto ESP Ducati 1098R 19 Laps
RET 71 Y. Kagayama JPN Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K9