Ben Spies is all smiles after claiming the first double of his World Superbike career, a feat many riders never accomplish in their racing tenure.
It’d be hard to script a better start to a World Superbike racing career. Two out of two Superpoles. Three wins in four races. Scoring a double at Losail. But that’s exactly what Yamaha World Superbike rider Ben Spies has accomplished after the American phenom rode brilliantly today, winning both races after battling with Ducati’s Noriyuki Haga and Aprilia’s Max Biaggi all afternoon.
“It was an extremely tough first race, I got an OK start and got to the back of Nori and Max after a few laps. All three of us were strong in different parts of the track so it was really interesting. It was very hard to pass them both. It was when Nori was looking up the inside of Max that I had my chance to get inside of him, and then Max ran a bit wide so I got through. Once I got it done I got my head down and kept it clean, it was good enough to win,” Spies said.
If the race action continues like it did today, it’s going to be one hell of a season. The Yamaha, Ducati, and Aprilia all are looking strong. In Race 1, Spies, Haga, and Biaggi surged to the front and would engage in plenty of cat-and-mouse until Spies started lapping under the two minute mark to pull away. Biaggi and Haga would duel to the end and traded the second position several times on the last lap, but Haga would execute the most important final pass. Biaggi finished a hard-fought third.
Shinya Nakano crossed the checkers in fourth on his Aprilia RSV4, while Carlos Checa was the top Honda finisher in fifth place.
If the racing was hot in Race 1, it could only be matched by the melee that was Race 2. The Aprilia looked destined to score its first victory since returning to World Superbike this year, as Biaggi jumped out to the early lead. Ducati Xerox’s Haga kept Mad Max in his sights and the two would again dice it out for the lead in the first half of the race. But Spies lurked behind just off the pace, making his move in the race’s closing stages to post his first double podium in World Superbike.
Hannspree Ten Kate Honda’s Ryuichi Kiyonari crossed
Ducati Xerox’s Noriyuki Haga finished second in both races and holds a 10-point lead in the championship points.
the line just behind Biaggi, while Spies teammate Tom Sykes would bring his YZF R1 home in fifth.
Troy Corser earned two top ten finishes on the BMW S1000 RR, but the BMW hasn’t looked as competitive as the Aprilias yet.
Factory Kawasaki rider Makoto Tamada suffered a heavy high side in warm-up this morning on his Paul Bird prepared ZX-10R and missed today’s races.
The rest of the roadracing world is quickly learning what’s been known in America for the last few years – this Ben Spies kid is pretty good.
World Superbike Qatar Race 1 Results
1.19 Spies B. (USA) Yamaha YZF R1 36’06.304
2. 41 Haga N. (JPN) Ducati 1098R 1.893
3. 3 Biaggi M. (ITA) Aprilia RSV4 2.168
4. 56 Nakano S. (JPN) Aprilia RSV4 12.061
5. 7 Checa C. (ESP) Honda CBR1000RR 12.597
6. 67 Byrne S. (GBR) Ducati 1098R 12.971
7. 66 Sykes T. (GBR) Yamaha YZF R1 13.570
8. 9 Kiyonari R. (JPN) Honda CBR1000RR 19.306
9. 11 Corser T. (AUS) BMW S1000 RR 19.388
10. 55 Laconi R. (FRA) Ducati 1098R 20.981
11. 91 Haslam L. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 21.164
12. 65 Rea J. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 21.994
13. 111 Xaus R. (ESP) BMW S1000 RR 22.917
14. 23 Parkes B. (AUS) Kawasaki ZX 10R 27.218
15. 33 Hill T. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 31.602
16. 31 Muggeridge K. (AUS) Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K9 33.934
17. 99 Scassa L. (ITA) Kawasaki ZX 10R 47.496
18. 25 Salom D. (ESP) Kawasaki ZX 10R 47.505
19. 15 Baiocco M. (ITA) Kawasaki ZX 10R 59.278
20. 77 Iannuzzo V. (ITA) Honda CBR1000RR 59.295
World Superbike Qatar Race 2 Results
19 Spies B. (USA) Yamaha YZF R1 36’02.126 (161,241 kph)
2. 41 Haga N. (JPN) Ducati 1098R 1.274
3. 3 Biaggi M. (ITA) Aprilia RSV4 1.622
4. 9 Kiyonari R. (JPN) Honda CBR1000RR 1.845
5. 66 Sykes T. (GBR) Yamaha YZF R1 5.117
6. 76 Neukirchner M. (GER) Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K9 9.512
7. 56 Nakano S. (JPN) Aprilia RSV4 9.514
8. 65 Rea J. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 12.621
9. 11 Corser T. (AUS) BMW S1000 RR 13.842
10. 111 Xaus R. (ESP) BMW S1000 RR 13.884
11. 91 Haslam L. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 13.888
12. 67 Byrne S. (GBR) Ducati 1098R 14.913
13. 7 Checa C. (ESP) Honda CBR1000RR 15.762
14. 55 Laconi R. (FRA) Ducati 1098R 15.920
15. 71 Kagayama Y. (JPN) Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K9 19.565
16. 23 Parkes B. (AUS) Kawasaki ZX 10R 21.759
17. 96 Smrz J. (CZE) Ducati 1098R 28.523
18. 31 Muggeridge K. (AUS) Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K9 40.499
19. 24 Roberts B. (AUS) Ducati 1098R 43.761
20. 99 Scassa L. (ITA) Kawasaki ZX 10R 44.669