Madness at the Capital of Speed
Michel Fabrizio and Ben Spies spilt wins in Italy at the fifth round of the World Superbike Championship, but not without a host of madness and turmoil at the historic Autodromo Nazionale Monza.
Ben Spies had another up-and-down weekend in Monza, running out of gas in Race One and winning Race 2.
Most of the madness took place in an exciting and drama-filled first race. The start was marred by an ugly first-lap accident, which saw Kawasaki's Makoto Tamada and Branden Roberts make contact at the back of the pack into the first chicane, both going down in a nasty crash. Robert’s privateer Ducati then skipped across the grass and through the chicane, making contact with Max Neukirchner’s Suzuki and putting the German on the
Makoto Tamada fell at the start of Race 1 and set off a massive chain reaction that put five riders on the ground.
ground. This followed with Tommy Hill and BMW’s Troy Corser hitting the deck. A red-flag and long delay followed to clean up the mess.
Neukirchner would suffer a broken right femur, with Tamada breaking his wrist and Roberts breaking his leg and suffering thorax trauma; a horrific way to start the day.
Of the down riders, only Corser was able to make the restart, but would fall again on the opening lap.
It was Noriyuki Haga leading the way once green-flag dropped again, but it wasn’t long before American homeboy Spies was at the front, taking the lead on Lap 5.
Behind Spies, Haga and his Ducati Xerox teammate Fabrizio would fade back slightly in second and third, but mounted a charge and caught back up later in the race. Hometown hero Fabrizio even made an attempt at the lead, briefly taking the point position around Lap 16, but Spies was quickly back in front.
Just when it all looked in the bag for the young Texan, having made a final-lap break, his factory Yamaha R1 puffed smoke and lost power going through the final corner, handing the win to Fabrizio, his first of the season and the first of his career at his home race in Italy.
Troy Corser on the factory BMW was caught up in the Turn One drama at the start of the first race. He would make the restart, only to fall again on the first lap.
Haga finshed second, with Ten Kate Honda’s Ryuichi Kiyonari third, who made a late-race charge to get his first podium of the season. Further back it was Suzuki’s Yukio Kagayama in fourth, holding off Ten Kate Honda's Jonathan Rea.
Spies would coast across the line all the way back in 15th spot, as it would turn out his R1 had run out of fuel. Spies' teammate Sykes' Yamaha ran out of fuel as well, though just after he crossed the finish line. American Jake Zemke on the Stiggy Motorsports Honda was 18th in his World Superbike debut, filling in for the injured John Hopkins.
Max Neukirchner was taken out in Race 1 and will now be out of action for awhile with a broken leg.
The second race featured nearly as much drama. Haga took the lead off the line in Race 2 with Spies close behind. But in another bizaar incident Haga was struck by a bird on the first corner, lacerating his right bicep. Despite loosing feeling in his right arm he continued on for another lap, but was unable to break going into the Parabolica causing him to fall.
Once again it was Spies out front by the end of lap one. And every lap thereafter. The American got redemption for Race One, stretching his lead to over six seconds at one point before finally crossing the line 2.665 seconds in front of the field.
Behind him was where the shake-up took place. Spies’ championship rival Haga got a horrible start, back as far as 15th on his Ducati at the end of the first lap. Haga desperately tried to make up ground when he tucked the front, crashing out going into the fast final right-hand corner on the second lap. It was quite a high-speed get-off but luckily Haga escaped injury. As it turns out, Haga was hit by a bird earlier in the lap, causing his arm to go numb and resulting in the crash.
The battle for second this time was between Fabrizio and Kiyonari, the two slipstreaming and trading positions the entire race. Fabrizio would hold the off the Japanese star, though by a mere 0.145 seconds at the line. Another five seconds back at the line was Ten Kate Honda’s Rea, who just held of Aprilia’s Max Biaggi.
Zemke once again had a rough time in Race 2 of his World Superbike debut, finishing a distant 20th after getting a ride-through penalty for cutting the chicane.
Race One Results
Michel Fabrizio (1st Race 1; 2nd Race 2):
"I don’t know what happened at the end of the first race with Ben (Spies), may have been the fuel, but it was a shame. I was going well and had a bit of a problem in the middle of the race with my gearbox when I touched with Ben, but I was able to get back up and get going. To win the first and be second after is the greatest weekend I have ever had. Thank you so much to my team and all of the Italian fans. This is amazing."
1. Michel FABRIZIO (Ducati 1098 F09)
2. Norikyuki HAGA (Ducati 1098 F09), -0.239 sec.
3. Ryuichi KIYONARI (Honda CBR1000RR), -8.175 sec.
4. Yukio KAGAYAMA (Suzuki GSX-R1000)
5. Jonathan REA (Honda CBR1000RR)
6. Tom SYKES (Yamaha YZF-R1)
7. Ruben XAUS (BMW S1000 RR)
8. Regis LACONI (Ducati 1098R)
9. Carlos CHECA (Honda CBR1000RR)
10. Broc PARKES (Kawasaki ZX-10R)
11. Max BIAGGI (Aprilia RSV4)
12. Jakub SMRZ (Ducati 1098R)
13. Shinya NAKANO (Aprilia RSV4)
14. Shane BYRNE (Ducati 1098R)
15. Ben SPIES (Yamaha YZF-R1)
16. Karl MUGGERIDGE (Suzuki GSX-R1000)
17. Matteo BAIOCCO (Kawasaki ZX-10R)
18. Jake ZEMKE (Honda CBR1000RR)
19. David SALOM (Kawasaki ZX-10R)
20. Tommy HILL (Honda CBR1000RR)
21. Vittorio IANNUZZO (Honda CBR1000RR)
Noriyuki Haga (2nd Race 1; DNF Race 2):
"Right at the start of Race Two I was hit by a bird on my right arm; it hurt a lot and I lost all sensation, with strong pain and pins and needles in my right arm and hand. I tried to continue to race but it was too difficult to ride and as a result I unfortunately fell. Yes it hurts but I should be back in top shape very soon. Race One went much better for me of course and I really enjoyed the racing against Ben and Michel."
22. David CHECA (Yamaha YZF-R1)
23. Luca SCASSA (Kawasaki ZX-10R)
24. Roland RESCH (Suzuki GSX-R1000 K9)
Race Two Results
1. Ben SPIES (Yamaha YZF-R1)
2. Michel FABRIZIO (Ducati 1098 F09), -2.665 sec.
3. Ryuichi KIYONARI (Honda CBR1000RR), -2.810 sec.
4. Jonathan REA (Honda CBR1000RR)
5. Max BIAGGI (Aprilia RSV4)
6. Tom SYKES (Yamaha YZF-R1)
7. Leon HASLAM (Honda CBR1000RR)
8. Jakub SMRZ (Ducati 1098R)
9. Ruben XAUS (BMW S1000 RR
10. Carlos CHECA (Honda CBR1000RR)
11. Regis LACONI (Ducati 1098R)
12. Shinya NAKANO (Aprilia RSV4)
13. Broc PARKES (Kawasaki ZX-10R)
14. Luca SCASSA (Kawasaki ZX-10R)
15. Matteo BAIOCCO (Kawasaki ZX-10R)
Ben Spies (DNF Race One; 1st Race 2):
"It was a tough pill to swallow after Rave One. But we put our head down in Race Two and got into a good rhythm in the first 12-14 laps because we knew we had an issue there and had to short-shift and slow down some at the end to make it on fuel. I took the two warm-up laps a bit differently and the last few laps of the race (in Race Two), but I can't complain about the bike, it was great during the race."
16. Tommy HILL (Honda CBR1000RR)
17. Yukio KAGAYAMA (Suzuki GSX-R1000)
18. Shane BYRNE (Ducati 1098R)
19. David CHECA (Yamaha YZF-R1)
20. Jake ZEMKE (Honda CBR1000RR)
21. David SALOM (Kawasaki ZX-10R)