News 27 Jul 2009

WSBK: Spies closes in on series lead on mixed day for Yamaha


It was a mixed day for Yamaha World Superbike rider Ben Spies in Brno. The first race started well with Spies, Biaggi and Fabrizio pulling away at the front but Fabrizio came in too hot three laps in and lost the bike, taking Spies out in the process. Race two and Spies got straight out in front, leading from the start. Again followed by Fabrizio and Biaggi, the two Italians fought amongst themselves until the closing laps when Biaggi got past and came after Spies. Spies adapted his riding and braked later and later into the corners to leave no opportunity for Biaggi to pass, and in doing so took a well earned victory and 25 points to add to his championship challenge.

Tom Sykes was also to suffer in race one, an electrical problem temporarily dropping him back to 24th place. He fought back up to 16th but a crashing rider in front again dropped him down several places and out of contention. The second race was more positive, Sykes worked hard to pass fellow British riders Leon Haslam and Shane Byrne and started chasing down championship leader Noriyuki Haga. He closed the gap down to less than half a second but was unable to make a pass before the end of the race, so settled for seventh at the flag.

As they head into the summer break, Spies is just seven points behind leader Haga with eight races left to run. Team mate Sykes remains in seventh in the standings, 30 points behind sixth placed rider Haslam.

Ben Spies, Yamaha World Superbike Team (DNF, 1st)
“race two was a tough race, Fabrizio was right there at the start so I had to make the push and put in the lap times to get ahead. Then I saw Max was up there, he arrived really quickly so I had to start braking very late and stopping almost in the middle of the corner and turning and getting a really good drive out so he couldn’t come by me, it was a great race. Obviously the first race wasn’t so good but we came back well for the second which was good for the points. I need to thank the Clinica Mobile guys, I arrived not feeling 100% this weekend and they looked after me really well and got me going. I want to thank Yamaha too, they gave me a great bike, it’s a shame we didn’t get to fight for the first race but I guess that’s just how it goes sometimes. ”

Tom Sykes, Yamaha World Superbike Team (DNF, 7th)
“overall a disappointing day, it’s a shame as I certainly think we had the pace on the Yamaha this weekend. Unfortunately race one we were just on the back of the lead bunch, only a couple of laps in and felt comfortable when we had an electrical problem on lap four which dropped us to the back of the grid. I got the bike going again and went from 24th to 16th but then got struck again with bad luck when a rider crashed in front of me. Race two we changed a couple of things on the bike and used the other one to be safe. It took a couple of laps to get settled in and I got stuck scrapping for a couple of places which cost some time but eventually managed to go and start chasing Haga down. To come away with seventh isn’t great, I think we should have been higher up. We’ll keep our heads up and press on for the remaining four rounds.”

Massimo Meregalli, Yamaha World Superbike Team Manager
“It was an up and down day and unfortunately through no fault of our own. Ben performed brilliantly all weekend, he did a fantastic job. It was impressive the way he held off Biaggi in the second race, we know how disappointing the first race was. Tom had some electrical problems in race one which meant he couldn’t fight at the front. He had a good pace in race two, it was a shame he couldn’t get past Noriyuki at the end. In the end we had a positive weekend as the gap for the championship gets smaller every race. We’ll take some time off now and come back ready for the Nurburgring in a month.”