WSB: Haga leads championship after Island clash

Mixed fortunes for Spies, Haslam takes podium - get the results, rider comment and championship standings from Australia

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Submitted by Visordown News on Mon, 02/03/2009 - 08:58

Visordown Motorcycle News


Haga...15-point lead after Phillip Island

NORIYUKI HAGA leads the 2009 WSB Championship 15 points after taking a win and a second in a thrilling open round at Phillip Island, Australia.

The Ducati ace took the race one win, despite qualifying in a lowly thirteenth place, in a last lap move on Suzuki-mounted Max Neukirchner. Yukio Kagayama, also riding a GSX-R1000 Suzuki, took the final spot on the podium.

WSB rookie Ben Spies took a fall on the opening lap but was able to remount, ending the race in 16 position.

Spies put his debut race misfortunes behind him by winning Race Two in style. The Yamaha-mounted Texan fought with Haga throughout the race, the pair pulling a clear lead on the chasing pack. At the flag Spies led Haga by almost 1.3 seconds. Spies is the first American to win a WSB race since 2002, when fellow Texan Colin Edwards won the final round of the series.

Britain's Leon Haslam, riding for team Stiggy Honda, clinched third place on the podium, after a blistering battle with Regis Laconi.

Noriyuki Haga - Yamaha 1st, 2nd

“My qualifying was not so good but in Race 1 my start was strong, and I started to fight with Max up at the front almost immediately. There was the possibility of rain so I started attacking right from the first lap. On the last lap Max got past me again but I kept trying and then on the last corner he made a mistake and I was able to pass him. In Race 2 I was again fighting, this time with Ben (Spies) but he was very fast and by the last five laps my rear tyre was finished, so I had to settle for second. I really enjoyed the race and I am very happy; my team has done a great job this weekend and I am feeling very comfortable on my 1198. A fantastic day, thanks to Ducati and thanks to the fans and I’m very happy that my move to Ducati brings my first win in the first race of the 2009 season.”

Ben Spies - Yamaha DNF, 1st

“I just had to put that first race out of my mind,” Spies said. “It was no one’s fault, I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time in both incidents. It was frustrating because I knew I had the speed to run up front. Fortunately I had another race and it made me that much more determined.”

And on race two:

“As the race progressed Nori and I were trying to work together to gap the rest of the field,” Spies explained. “It worked out well in the final part of the race and it was pretty much him and me going for the win. I think in the end I just hung it out a little more [than Haga] when the tires started going off.”

“It’s great to get a win under my belt,” Spies concluded. “It takes a little pressure off. I feel pretty fortunate to come out of here in fourth after what happened in the first race. Now we go to Qatar and see if we can start chipping away at Nori’s lead.”

The championship moves to Losail Circuit, Qatar on March 14.

Results

Race one

1. Noriyuki Haga JPN Ducati Xerox 1098R 34mins 22.631s

2. Max Neukirchner GER Alstare Suzuki GSX-R 1000K9 +0.032s

3. Yukio Kagayama JPN Alstare Suzuki GSX-R 1000K9 +5.347s

4. Michel Fabrizio ITA Ducati Xerox 1098R +6.587s

5. Jonathan Rea GBR HANNspree Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR +8.491s

6. Leon Haslam GBR Stiggy Motorsport Honda CBR1000RR +8.523s

7. Regis Laconi FRA DFX Corse Ducati 1098R +8.766s

8. Troy Corser AUS BMW Motorrad S1000RR +11.589s

9. Jakub Smrz CZE Guandalini Racing Ducati 1098R +11.721s

10. Tom Sykes GBR Yamaha Italia YZF R1 +11.761s

11. Max Biaggi ITA Aprilia Racing RSV-4 +12.609s

12. Carlos Checa ESP HANNspree Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR +19.096s

13. Roberto Rolfo ITA Stiggy Motorsport Honda CBR1000RR +24.149s

14. Tommy Hill GBR HANNspree Althea Honda CBR1000RR +27.416s

15. Shinya Nakano JPN Aprilia Racing RSV-4 +28.173s

16. Ben Spies USA Yamaha Italia YZF R1 +28.235s

17. Brendan Roberts AUS Guandalini Racing Ducati 1098R +37.348s

18. Makoto Tamada JPN Kawasaki SRT ZX-10R +37.401s

19. Ruben Xaus ESP BMW Motorrad S1000RR +42.614s

20. Luca Scassa ITA Team Pedercini Kawasaki ZX-10R +1mi 03.794s

21. David Salom ESP Team Pedercini Kawasaki ZX-10R +2 laps

Race two

1. Ben Spies USA Yamaha Italia YZF R1 34mins 20.457s

2. Noriyuki Haga JPN Ducati Xerox 1098R +1.286s

3. Leon Haslam GBR Stiggy Motorsport Honda CBR1000RR +4.213s

4. Regis Laconi FRA DFX Corse Ducati 1098R +4.490s

5. Michel Fabrizio ITA Ducati Xerox 1098R +6.045s

6. Max Neukirchner GER Alstare Suzuki GSX-R 1000K9 +9.947s

7. Jakub Smrz CZE Guandalini Racing Ducati 1098R +10.174s

8. Yukio Kagayama JPN Alstare Suzuki GSX-R 1000K9 +12.100s

9. Jonathan Rea GBR HANNspree Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR +12.742s

10. Tom Sykes GBR Yamaha Italia YZF R1 +20.061s

11. Ruben Xaus ESP BMW Motorrad S1000RR +24.854s

12. Shinya Nakano JPN Aprilia Racing RSV-4 +25.192s

13. Carlos Checa ESP HANNspree Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR +27.162s

14. Tommy Hill GBR HANNspree Althea Honda CBR1000RR +29.737s

15. Max Biaggi ITA Aprilia Racing RSV-4 +30.036s

16. Roberto Rolfo ITA Stiggy Motorsport Honda CBR1000RR +38.458s

17. Makoto Tamada JPN Kawasaki SRT ZX-10R +44.453s

18. Broc Parkes AUS Kawasaki SRT ZX-0R +45.486s

19. Brendan Roberts AUS Guandalini Racing Ducati 1098R +46.198s

20. Luca Scassa ITA Team Pedercini Kawasaki ZX-10R +57.921s

21. Karl Muggeridge AUS Celani Suzuki GSX-R1000 +57.989s

22. Troy Corser AUS BMW Motorrad S1000RR +1min 0.093s

23. Ryuichi Kiyonari JPN Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR +1min 7.820s

24. Matteo Baiocco ITA PSG-1 Kawasaki ZX-10R +1min 21.224s

25. David Salom ESP Team Pedercini Kawasaki ZX-10R +1min 21.276s

Championship standings

1 Haga 45

2 Neukirchner 30

3 Haslam 26

4 Spies 25

5 Kagayama 24

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