WSBK: 2009 Losail race results

Double victory for Spies

By Motorcycle.Com Staff, Mar. 16, 2009
Ben Spies capped off a perfect week at the Losail Interntional Circuit in Doha, Qatar with a double victory in the second round of the 2009 World Superbike Championship.

The two wins gives Spies three victories in four races for a spectacular start to the Yamaha rider’s WSBK career. Spies’ two wins at Losail completed a week that saw the Texan win the Superpole and lead every qualifying session despite the fact he had never ridden on the track before.

“It was a perfect weekend, they’re not always going to be like that but we’ll take them when we can,” says Spies.

Race one saw Aprilia Racing’s Max Biaggi take the holeshot while Spies dropped to fifth at the start. By lap five, however, Spies had climbed to third to join Biaggi and Ducati Xerox’s Noriyuki Haga at the front of the pack.

Ben Spies leads the way in Qatar with Max Biaggi and Noriyuki Haga on his tail.The three riders held their positions for several laps until Spies made his move on lap 12. The three-time AMA Superbike champion passed his two rivals to take the lead. Spies held on to take race one by 1.893 seconds while Haga edging Biaggi for second.

“It was an extremely tough first race, I got an ok start and got to the back of Nori and Max after a few laps. All three of us were strong in different parts of the track so it was really interesting. It was very hard to pass them both,” says Spies. “It was when Nori was looking up the inside of Max, that I had my chance to get inside of him, and then Max ran a bit wide so I got through. Once I got it done I got my head down and kept it clean, it was good enough to win.”

Race two saw the same three riders in at the front this time with Haga taking the early lead. Spies took a different strategy and challenged for the lead early, seizing control in lap seven. Haga finished 1.274 seconds behind for second while Biaggi finished third, repeating the podium result from the first race.

“When Ben passed me, I tried to stay with him but he is very fast. In one second he was going to 100 meters so I could not catch him,” says Haga. The two runner-up finishes helped the veteran racer maintain his lead in the standings but he joked about the secret to Spies’ success: “Ben is ten years younger than me so that’s why I lose!”

Noriyuki Haga maintains his lead in the WSBK standings.Spies’ double victory overshadowed the weekend the new Aprilia Racing team had. Biaggi’s two third-place results were the first podium finishes for Aprilia since 2002. Biaggi’s teammate, Shinya Nakano also had a good weekend, finishing fourth in race one and seventh in race two. Their success demonstrated the competitiveness of the new Aprilia RSV4.

“I’m very happy not only to be climbing atop the podium,” says Biaggi. “But also for the awareness that I am constantly fighting for the top positions. It was a difficult race, my adversaries were glued to me and it wasn't easy to keep the right pace and the proper concentration with all of that pressure. I am very happy with this package because it is already very competitive, I have established a good feeling with the bike and it is for this reason that I must thank my team for the very hard and important work they are doing. I am happy to be on the podium not only for myself, but also for everyone who is involved with and believes in this project.”

The 2009 WSBK season continues April 5 in Valencia, Spain.

2009 WSBK top five standings
Pos. Rider Bike Points
1st Noriyuki Haga Ducati 1098R 85
2nd Ben Spies Yamaha YZF-R1 75
3rd Max Neukirchner Suzuki GSX-R1000 40
4th Max Biaggi Aprilia RSV4 38
5th Leon Haslem Honda CBR1000RR 36