WSBK: 2009 Utah results

Spies untouchable at home

By Motorcycle.Com Staff, Jun. 01, 2009
Ben Spies put up a dominating display in his first visit to the U.S.A. since joining the World Superbike Championship series.

The factory Yamaha rider won both races at the May 31 Utah round of the WSBK championship and earned his record-setting seventh Superpole. The two victories pushed Spies past Ducati Xerox’s Michel Fabrizio back into second place in the standings.

Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah, has proven to be one of Spies’ favorite tracks. Spies has won seven of eight career AMA and World Superbike races at Miller.

Meanwhile, WSBK points leader Noriyuki Haga of Ducati Xerox had his worst weekend of the season with eighth and ninth place finishes in the two races. Haga may have been feeling the effects of a crash during qualifying to continue his string of poor luck in Utah. Haga also crashed during last year’s visit to Miller Motorsports Park, breaking his collarbone.

Ben Spies was dominant in Utah, trimming Noriyuki Haga's championship lead to 53 points.

Spies jumped well out in front in Race 1, developing an early lead. The Texan separated himself from the field and looked to cruise for an easy victory. The race was interrupted on lap 7 after Celani Suzuki’s Karl Muggeridge crashed, but when the race resumed, Spies continued his torrid pace. The three-time AMA champion won by over nine seconds on aggregate times. Ten Kate Honda’s Carlos Checa, who swept both Utah races in 2008, finished second for his first podium of the season while Fabrizio followed up in third.

“We’ve been working on our starts a bit and this is a long straightaway and I really needed to get a good one here,” says Spies. “After the restart it was tough because I really wanted to win on the road and couldn’t take too many risks to keep Carlos at bay. I just wanted to cross the line first even though I had a six-second cushion.”

Race 2 began with another strong start for Spies. Fabrizio also had a good start but was never able to really challenge for the lead. Spies won the second race by another nine-second margin while Fabrizio finished in second.

Honda riders Leon Haslam (91) and Jonathan Rea (65) battle while Aprilia's Max Biaggi (3) closes in.A pair of Honda riders provided some drama for the final podium position. Ten Kate Honda’s Jonathon Rea and Stiggy Honda’s Leon Haslam traded positions several times throughout the race. The duel was decided the when Haslem crashed out on the final lap to give Rea the final podium spot.

“Ben and Michel put on a great run at the front, I couldn’t go with them,” says Rea. “I could see a big gaggle of riders behind me, and thought I'd keep something in reserve until the end but I couldn’t see what happened with Leon's crash. Anyway it was my second podium in two rounds so I’m very happy.”

AMA Daytona Sportbike racer Jamie Hacking made an impressive WSBK debut with a seventh-place finish in Race 1 for the Paul Bird Kawasaki team’s best result this season. Hacking, substituting for the injured Makoto Tamada, was forced to retire in Race 2 after running off track on lap five.

Jake Zemke, also substituting for the injured John Hopkins, earned his first career WSBK point with a 15th place finish in Race 2. The 2008 AMA Formula Xtreme champion also raced for Hopkins at the Monza round. Hopkins is expected to return for the next round, June 19-21 in Misano, Italy.

2009 WSBK Championship top five standings (after seven rounds)
Pos. Rider Motorcycle Points
1st Noriyuki Haga Ducati 1098R 265
2nd Ben Spies Yamaha YZF-R1 212
3rd Michel Fabrizio Ducati 1098R 201
4th Jonathan Rea Honda CBR1000RR 133
5th Max Biaggi Aprilia RSV4 126