WSBK: 2009 Magny-Cours results

Spies trails Haga by 10 points heading into final round

By Motorcycle.Com Staff, Oct. 05, 2009
Noriyuki Haga and Ben Spies split a pair of World Superbike wins at Magny-Cours, but tire problems hampered Spies’ attempt to keep pace with Haga in the championship standings.

Spies arrived in France on a high, having announced his intent to race in the 2010 MotoGP season and getting an invitation to race the 2009 MotoGP season finale in Valencia, Spain.

The Yamaha rider’s positive weekend continued with his record-tying tenth Superpole in his rookie season and carried over to a Race One victory. Spies took off to a strong start led every lap. Ducati Xerox’s Haga set the fastest lap and had the pace to win if it weren’t for Aprilia’s Max Biaggi who proved difficult to pass.

Ben Spies momentarily moved into the championship lead after Race One.

Haga finally moved past the Italian on lap 17 before setting his sights on Spies but his efforts fell short as Spies held on to win by 0.181 seconds. Biaggi followed with his seventh podium finish of the season.

“If only I had one more lap something would have happened for sure,” says Haga. “I made a mistake at the start because there was some problem with the bike. I just gained in the middle of the race in the top thre and tried to start pushing. On the last lap I was thinking that Ben would make a mistake somewhere for sure and then he did at one corner. I almost passed but we made a good race anyway.”

Spies’ win vaulted him into a two-point lead over Haga heading into the second race. Unfortunately for Spies, that’s where his luck ended.

A poor front tire held Spies from repeating his Race One results, allowing Biaggi and Haga to take off to a strong start. By the end of the first lap, Haga was in front followed closely by Biaggi and Ten Kate Honda’s Jonathan Rea.

Noriyuki Haga widened his championship lead to ten points after takng the checkered flag in Race Two.

Haga kept the lead through the race to win by 1.480 seconds. Biaggi and Rea had a tight battle for second with Biaggi coming out on top despite cracking the windscreen on his Aprilia RSV4.

“From the beginning everyone was fast, the top four or five were at a very similar pace,” says Biaggi. “I had a good rhythm, I followed Nori, he looked very confident, I was wondering if he could keep the pace until the end and I got my answer because he was still lapping well. At the start of the race someone ran off the track and a big stone broke my window and I was worried that the radiator was broken. I started to push again and for me it was a good race.”

A pair of podium finishes behind Noriyuki Haga (41) helped Max Biaggi (3) move back into fourth in the championship standings.

Spies managed to hold onto fourth place through the race to stay within ten points of Haga.

“Honestly I’m just super disappointed with the second race,” says Spies. “We made a rear tire choice which was neither better nor worse, but the front tire we had on in the second race was hard to go at a pace with. I was consistently half a second off what we were doing in practice. I’m honestly surprised we didn’t finish in tenth with the way the bike felt. Even if we had won today we would still go to Portimao having to win both races so it doesn’t really change too much.”

The 2009 WSBK season concludes Oct. 25 in Portimao, Portugal.

2009 WSBK Championship top five standings (after 13 rounds)
Pos. Rider Motorcycle Points
1st Noriyuki Haga Ducati 1198R 436
2nd Ben Spies Yamaha YZF-R1 426
3rd Michel Fabrizio Ducati 1198R 346
4th Max Biaggi Aprilia RSV4 293
5th Jonathan Rea Honda CBR1000RR 279