At Misano World Circuit
Ben Spies (Yamaha World Superbike) and Jonathan Rea (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) scored the two wins in a memorable day of racing at the Misano World Circuit in Italy.
In front of 65,000 spectators Spies took his eighth seasonal win in the first
race, while Rea grabbed his maiden Superbike win in the second.
The Ducati Xerox pairing of Michel Fabrizio, third and second in the two races, and Noriyuki Haga were also key players in the day's action, and the Japanese rider now has a 48 point lead over Spies and 55 over his team-mate.
Spies scored the win in the first race of the day, held in flag-to-flag conditions, which saw the riders starting on a wet track but taking the flag in the dry. Half-way through the 24-lapper, which had been totally dominated by Shane Byrne (Sterilgarda Ducati), the entire field started to pit to change bikes and tyres.
Spies was the rider who judged things to perfection, the Texan immediately finding the right pace in the dry and going on to win by almost 8 seconds from Byrne. Third place saw a fantastic scrap, with Fabrizio making his 1098 machine as wide as possible on the final lap to hold off the rapidly catching poleman Jakub Smrz (Guandalini Ducati). Fifth place went to Haga, who limited the damage on a track that is not one of his favourites, the Japanese rider passing his compatriot Yukio Kagayama (Suzuki Alstare) in the final stages.
Rea was the first Honda to the flag in a race that saw him start from the back of the grid and pick up a ride-through penalty. Tenth place went to Superbike rookie Matthieu Lagrive (Honda Althea), behind Shinya Nakano (Aprilia), while team-mate Max Biaggi was in difficulty in these conditions and could only finish 13th.
Ben Spies: “It was a hard one, we knew from the start it was going to get dry and in that first half hats off to Shakey, he rode great. I had the feeling in the rain that I wasn't quite happy but I tried as hard as I could to stay close to Michel. My box showed me that some riders were starting to come in for a change so I said that it was time to get in now. It was a hectic race, pretty eventful, not a great race but I was happy to pull this one off.”
Shane Byrne: “That was a fantastic race. It's a shame it didn't stay wet for a little bit longer because I had a really big lead at one point. I wasn't sure what to do with the tyre situation and all the time the lead was going up, and I didn't know whether to stay out or not. I switched bikes with about seven laps to go and the first two laps were really difficult. Ben had done a couple more dry laps than I had, he passed me and there was no way I was going to get him. It was a fantastic result for the team at their home circuit, they've all worked really hard.”
Michel Fabrizio: “That's not a bad result, it was a great battle with Jakub for the final podium slot. When I saw that on the big screen that he was getting closer and closer, I knew that I had to invent something special on the last lap. I was unable to find the best possible feeling immediately with the dry tyres and I slipped back a bit but I've had a lot of bad luck in recent years at Misano so I'm very happy to get onto the podium.”
The second Superbike race saw talented young Brit Jonathan Rea take his first ever win after a spectacular scrap with Fabrizio that set the last laps of the race alight. The final podium slot went to points leader Haga, who took advantage of Spies' second race mishap, the Texan only managing ninth after being slowed by a clutch issue.
Smrz picked up another fourth place after passing Carlos Checa (Honda) on the final lap as the Spanish rider's tyres went off. Byrne was once again up amongst the front-runners and he finished the second race in sixth place.
The first Yamaha to the finish was the R1 of Tom Sykes, seventh ahead of Leon Haslam (Stiggy Racing Honda). The Aprilias of Biaggi and Nakano both finished in the points, together with the Suzukis of Kagayama and Nieto, while Xaus and Corser (BMW) and Parkes and Hacking (Kawasaki) all failed to finish in the top 15.
Jonathan Rea: “To win my first race in Italy here is really special for me before my home round next weekend at Donington. As everybody's aware we switched suspensions, and tried them for the first time on Monday at Magny-Cours and the team all did a marvelous job to get me to win the race here so this is really special for them as well. I got settled into my own rhythm and Michel came past but he couldn't outbrake me and that spared my bike from doing all the running. I could pass where I wanted to pass and I saved it to the last lap. I'm really over the moon with the win!”
Michel Fabrizio: “In race 2 I didn't have a perfect feeling with the front and Rea's Honda accelerated better out of the corners than me. It's a pity I didn't win today but two podiums are my best result on this track and knowing that I did my best makes me happy. I'm just a few points behind Spies in the table and maybe I can start thinking about the title now although I realize that to be a serious candidate I have to keep on getting good results and even win a few races”.
Noriyuki Haga: “Race 2 was much better than the first one: I got a good start but then Johnny and Michel passed me and it was hard to keep their pace, maybe because they're much younger than me! Seriously though we have taken home some good points and that's important because Misano is not one of my favourite tracks. Now I'm looking forward to racing at Donington where in recent years I've always had good results.”
Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha World Supersport) got the better of Eugene Laverty (Parkalgar Honda) in an exciting Supersport clash at Misano. The points leader just had the edge in a two-part race, which was red-flagged due to oil on the track, beating his rival in a sprint to the line.
With his third win of the season Crutchlow has a 14 point lead over Laverty, and the fight now looks to be between these two as Kenan Sofuoglu (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) picked up a DNF with a crash while running third. The Dutch team's forgettable weekend was completed with a crash for Andrew Pitt, while the Australian was leading in the early stages.
Massimo Roccoli (Intermoto Honda) rode a great race to step onto the podium on a track where he won in 2006. The Italian held off Joan Lascorz (Kawasaki Provec) on aggregate after a late charge by the Spanish rider. Australian Mark Aitchison scored a convincing fifth for the Honda Althea team, ahead of Katsuaki Fujiwara (Kawasaki Provec) and Anthony West (Stiggy Racing Honda), while poleman Michele Pirro (Yamaha Lorenzini) had to retire from eighth place with a technical problem.