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

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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:

Pos. Num. Rider Country Bike Diff
1 84 M. Fabrizio ITA Ducati 1098R
2 41 N. Haga JPN Ducati 1098R 1.195
3 65 J. Rea GBR Honda CBR1000RR 1.494
4 67 S. Byrne GBR Ducati 1098R 5.553
5 19 B. Spies USA Yamaha YZF R1 5.842
6 3 M. Biaggi ITA Aprilia RSV4 Factory 7.374
7 22 L. Camier GBR Aprilia RSV4 Factory 9.658
8 96 J. Smrz CZE Ducati 1098R 10.434
9 11 T. Corser AUS BMW S1000 RR 17.010
10 50 S. Guintoli FRA Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K9 24.509
11 71 Y. Kagayama JPN Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K9 27.195
12 23 B. Parkes AUS Kawasaki ZX 10R 34.825
13 14 M. Lagrive FRA Honda CBR1000RR 35.135
14 99 L. Scassa ITA Kawasaki ZX 10R 1’01.842
15 94 D. Checa ESP Yamaha YZF R1 1’09.782
16 100 M. Tamada JPN Kawasaki ZX 10R 1’30.818
17 25 D. Salom ESP Kawasaki ZX 10R 4 Laps
RET 15 M. Baiocco ITA Ducati 1098R 7 Laps
RET 91 L. Haslam GBR Honda CBR1000RR 14 Laps
RET 7 C. Checa ESP Honda CBR1000RR 15 Laps
RET 111 R. Xaus ESP BMW S1000 RR 15 Laps
RET 10 F. Nieto ESP Ducati 1098R 15 Laps
RET 77 V. Iannuzzo ITA Honda CBR1000RR 19 Laps