WSBK returns to Miller Motorsports Park

Spies heads American presence at Utah round

By Motorcycle.Com Staff, May. 27, 2009
Ben Spies makes his return to the U.S.A. as the World Superbike Championship arrives in Utah, May 29-31.

The Yamaha rider will be looking to rebound from a disappointing previous round in Kyalami, South Africa where Spies dropped from second to third in the rider standings. Despite the setback, Spiesí WSBK career has been off to an excellent start with five wins in 12 races, capturing every Superpole qualifier along the way. Spiesí success and his return to America have drawn the attention of USA Today and Sports Illustrated which both ran features on him this week on their websites.

For the first time this season, Spies will have one advantage over his chief competitors: track familiarity. Tooele, Utahís Miller Motorsports Park is hosting the WSBK championship for only the second time, so most of the fieldís experience is limited to last yearís round. Meanwhile, Spies has competed at Miller Motorsports Park for years, winning five of the six AMA Superbike races held at the circuit since it opened in 2006.

ďItís awesome to be back home in the USA,Ē says Spies. ďThis is my first trip home this year, so itís been a bit crazy. After the ups and downs of Kyalami Iím really happy to be home and looking forward to Miller this weekend. Itís a great track and one I know well. It makes a big change to be heading towards a race with good track knowledge, this will be the first time this year Iíve gone to a track Iíve raced at before, and in front of a home crowd too. The team and I are working hard on the set-up, and Iím hopeful we can bring this one home for the fans here in the states.Ē

Ben Spies has been perfect in Superpole qualifying in his rookie WSBK campaign.Spies wonít be the only American competing in Utah. Jamie Hacking will race for the factory-backed Paul Bird Motorsport Kawasaki team in place of the injured Makato Tamada. Hacking finished second to Spies in both AMA Superbike races in 2008 and will be making his first WSBK appearance since racing as a wild card entrant at the Laguna Seca rounds in 1998 and 1999.

ďI rode World Superbikes back when I first started racing, at Laguna Seca,Ē says Hacking. ďObviously, a lot has changed and I have more experience. I canít really say what a realistic expectation would be without riding the bike, but Miller does seem to suit my style. Last year, it was our best track on the ZX-10R and I hope that we can try for a top ten.Ē

Jake Zemke will also race in Utah, substituting for the injured John Hopkins for Stiggy Honda. Zemke is the only racer besides Spies to have won an AMA Superbike race at Miller Motorsports Park.