News 8 Sep 2009

WSBK: Spies slots into series lead after Nurburgring in Germany


The Nurburgring GP circuit was witness to an incredible performance from Yamaha World Superbike rider Ben Spies today as he attacked the track to take the championship lead from rival Haga.

Race one started well for the American but was almost immediately red flagged for a crash between Tamada, Hopkins and Parkes. The restart saw Spies move up into third behind Rea and Haga until the third lap where he took Rea on the brakes to move into second position. Rea briefly retook the position but held it for mere seconds before relinquishing again to the American missile. Spies then set about reeling in Haga, taking nearly half a second a lap off the Ducati rider’s lead until he had closed it to 0.3 seconds by lap 10. As they entered the chicane at the end of the lap, he pulled a swift move and took the lead, which he held to the line, throwing in an extra turn of speed at the end to increase his lead.

Race two saw a less than perfect start with Spies dropping to sixth amid a pack of riders. He fought through the pack to fourth, and gradually worked through to third behind Rea and Haga. Rea and Haga came together going into the first corner of lap four, taking Haga out of the race and leaving Ben to tuck in behind Rea to the finish line, taking second spot on the podium.

Tom Sykes got a great start off the line in race one, moving from 11th position up to seventh at the first corner before the restart. As the race restarted he got off the line in tenth, chasing down Nieto who he passed on lap six. He worked hard to close the gap on Corser and Fabrizio in front but had to settle for ninth across the line at the end. Race two saw him get off the line to ninth again, then moving up to eighth by lap two, following team-mate Spies. He continued to charge and on lap 14 took Fabrizio on the brakes going into the first corner of the circuit to take seventh. He dropped one place to eighth but held on ahead of Fabrizio to keep his position over the line.

Ben Spies heads to Imola in two weeks time having taken the lead in the World Superbike Championship with an 18 point advantage over demoted Haga with six races remaining. Team mate Tom Sykes leaves Germany sitting in eighth place in the standings just 12 points behind seventh position rider Carlos Checa.

Ben Spies, Yamaha World Superbike Team (1st, 2nd)
“the first race was tough, Rea and I battled a bit for the first couple of laps and Nori got away so I had to reel him back in, using a lot of my tyre to do that. When I got to him I knew he was really strong in the first few corners so I slowed the pace a bit and controlled him through there. With three laps to go we pulled the pin and got back down to some fast laps. The second race was a tough one, I didn’t get a great start and had to spend some time working through the pack, when I eventually got up to Rea he had a great pace on so I tucked in and was waiting for him to make a mistake, which unfortunately he didn’t! I used up a lot of my tyres fighting through the pack and was starting to slide around a bit at the end so tucked in and took the points. It’s fantastic to be leading the championship, it’s what we came here to do, so we’re looking forward to getting to Imola and seeing if we can build on this. The team have been brilliant, and have worked really hard all weekend.”

Tom Sykes, Yamaha World Superbike Team (9th, 8th)
” I’m really disappointed to be honest, my pace in warm up this morning was quite impressive and I knew going into the races that repeating those lap times would mean we were running at the front. Unfortunately we couldn’t repeat it, we were really struggling for grip which we could see in the data afterwards. My braking, corner entry and everything was the same but when I got on the gas I couldn’t use the same percentage of throttle that I was this morning. We tried to change something in race two but it didn’t seem to help. I’m certainly looking forward to putting this weekend behind me and moving on. We’ve got three rounds left now to come up with something special so we’ll see what we comes out.”

Massimo Meregalli, Yamaha World Superbike Team Manager
“We came here with the target of catching Nori, we achieved that and now we are leading the championship. It would be impossible to get a better result. I think Ben really used his head in the second race, he saw that it was tough to catch Rea especially during the last lap so he took the points. This is the first time our team has led the championship so we are very happy. We are now even more motivated to continue like this. It was a really tough weekend for Tom. He had found a really good pace in the earlier sessions but struggled to repeat it in the race. It was disappointing not to see him get a higher position at the end. The settings which seemed to work really well in the practice sessions were not so good in the race for him. We will see if can achieve more at Imola.”