The July 26 WSBK round in Brno, Czech Republic began with Spies taking his ninth Superpole in ten rounds.
Race One began with BMW Motorrad’s Troy Corser taking the early lead. The start was not as positive for his teammate Ruben Xaus who crashed on the opening lap. Tests later showed Xaus suffered a broken femur.
Spies’ lead was short-lived however as Fabrizio crashed into him on lap five. Fabrizio attempted to take the inside line on the final corner but came in too hot and lost grip on the front. Spies fell as Fabrizio slid into him, knocking them both out of the race. Afterwards, Fabrizio took the blame for the accident that knocked out the two title contenders.
“I am very sorry for what happened in Race One. It was my fault, I need to stay calmer, what more can I say?” says Fabrizio. “Before the crash I saw that Ben was breaking early at that point of the track, so I thought I could get past him there. We’re fighting for a world title so I am angry with myself but at least neither of us were badly hurt.”
With Spies and Fabrizio out of the way, Biaggi cruised to victory, the first for the RSV4 and the first for Aprilia since Regis Laconi won at Imola, Italy in 2001. The win was also Biaggi’s ninth victory Brno.
“It’s great! What can I say?” says Biaggi. “When I crossed the start-finish I was so happy to be winning this race and I had so many flashbacks of Brno, I can feel that it is one of my favorite circuits. Of course I don’t want to take anything away from Spies and Fabrizio, they were both very fast, but I remember Barry Sheene used to say ‘To finish first, first you have to finish' and this is a part of the deal. I put my head down and did not make any mistake, so a big thanks to all my crew, Aprilia and in particular Gigi Dall’Igna, the ‘papa’ of our bike!”
Hannspree Ten Kate Honda’s Carlos Checa and Jonathan Rea completed the podium, finishing second and third respectively.
“It’s a good result for the team to get two riders on the podium and I think we did a very good job,” says Checa. “At a certain point I thought maybe I could catch Max, but in the end I had to preserve my tires as the right side in particular was not so good, and I could see there was no way. I settled for second as I could see that Johnny was 4 seconds behind.”
Biaggi, Spies and Fabrizio were the early front-runners on race two, with Spies taking the early lead. Fabrizio held off Biaggi through most of the race until Biaggi passed him on lap 15. The veteran from Rome then set his sights on the rookie from Texas but Spies held on for the win.
“Race Two was a tough race, Fabrizio was right there at the start so I had to make the push and put in the lap times to get ahead,” says Spies. “Then I saw Max was up there, he arrived really quickly so I had to start braking very late and stopping almost in the middle of the corner and turning and getting a really good drive out so he couldn’t come by me, it was a great race.”
Biaggi finished second for his fifth podium finish of the season and third in four races. Fabrizio was less than a second behind Spies for third.
“I did all I could to stay with Ben and Max but they were too fast today; in fact the pace of the Aprilia, still in the development phase, is a bit scary with a view to next season,” says Fabrizio.
Meanwhile, Fabrizio’s teammate and championship points leader Haga had a poor weekend, by his standards, in his first racing action since undergoing surgery June 29 for a broken arm suffered in a crash at the previous WSBK round at Donington Park, England. Haga finished eighth in Race One and sixth in Race Two despite qualifying 14th. Under those circumstances, Haga’s results may be considered a success by anyone but himself.
“I am not very happy but we have worked well this weekend despite the difficulties,” says Haga. “The fractured scapula prevented me from performing as I hoped to. Having said that, I gained valuable points and find myself still in the lead, seven points ahead of Ben (Spies).”
Haga will have time to continue his recovery before the next round, Aug. 4-6 at the Nurburgring in Nurburg, Germany. Haga leads Spies 326-319 with four rounds remaining. Fabrizio also remains in the title hunt with 273 points.
|2009 WSBK Championship top five standings (after ten rounds)|
|1st||Noriyuki Haga||Ducati 1198R||326|
|2nd||Ben Spies||Yamaha YZF-R1||319|
|3rd||Michel Fabrizio||Ducati 1198R||273|
|4th||Jonathan Rea||Honda CBR1000RR||206|
|5th||Max Biaggi||Aprilia RSV4||200|