On the track, the Haga – Spies duel continues…
The Mondial Superbike took place this weekend on the legendary Assen track. Faithful to its tradition, the Dutch circuit offered us a superb show, in both the Superbike and Supersport categories! Sensitive heart, refrain…
First Superbike race
Ben Spies got off to a very good start and took the first corner ahead of Max Neukirchner, Jakub Smrz and Noriyuki Haga. Behind, Max Biaggi also did well: he is 5th ahead of Tom Sykes and Leon Haslam !
From the first lap, Spies and Neukirchner widened a slight gap on their pursuers. Seeing the Yam ‘n ° 19 and the Suz’ n ° 76 moving away, Haga decides to pass Smrz and sounds the charge! In the peloton, Leon Haslam also makes his way.
In three loops, the Japanese rider joins the leading duo while Leon tries to keep pace. As for Jakub Smrz, he must let Tom Sykes pass then, a few laps later, the "Italian" trio formed by Fabrizio, Biaggi and Laconi.
At the end of the 7th lap, Max Neukirchner’s great adventure comes to an abrupt end: the German loses the front of his GSX-R in the "snip" of the last chicane !
Max tries to put his bike back on its two wheels but his attempt turns out to be too late: he is no longer on the Gex when the front tire regains grip … The Suz ‘therefore drags its rider for a few meters extra before falling for good.
"Because of this fall, I could not do better than 13th", will lament the Alstare driver who could hope for good things for this first round…
Fortunately, his little comrades are not embarrassed and continue their race as if nothing had happened: Haga is in the pots of Spies, Haslam struggles to catch them and Rea doubles Smrz then Laconi !
Halfway through the race, "Nitro Nori" finally passes in front of "Elbowz" … Behind them, Leon Haslam remains focused: while much was expected from Checa, Rea and Kiyonari, members of the Ten Kate team – local of the stage -, the little Leon is once again the best Honda representative on the track !
A few turns after Haga moreover, Haslam even allowed himself to overtake Spies. Ron Haslam – Macau GP winner in 1973 on Elf3 – can be proud of his son who fights with the two best drivers in the world and defends his 2nd place dearly.
Nori Haga tries to move her Ducati away from the two Japanese 4-cylinders stuck behind her but nothing helps! It’s only fair if the n ° 41 enjoys a few moments of respite when the fight intensifies between the pilots Yam ‘and Honda..
A beautiful fight that illuminates this end of the race: Ben and Leon do not hesitate to negotiate the rapid sequences of Assen two abreast! The neck to neck – literally – turns to the advantage of the American who immediately resumes threatening the Japanese lead, three laps from the end.
In the last loop, while Haslam and his Honda n ° 91 seem definitively dropped, Spies narrowly misses the rear wheel of the official Ducati and loses several meters. But the two-time American champion has resources and manages to get back on his opponents when it comes to attacking the last part of the circuit…
It was in a very quick right break that Ben made the inside to Noriyuki. The n ° 19 then takes great care to lock the very last doors and wins! The n ° 41 and 91 complete this first podium, followed at a distance by the solo riders Tom Sykes, Max Biaggi and Jakub Smrz.
Behind them, Regis Laconi could not resist the return of Jonathan Rea: our national n ° 55 thus finished in 8th place ahead of Michel Fabrizio and Troy Corser. The latter does not have to be ashamed of his performance: "although i’m never happy to finish 10th i think it was the best i could do. If I hadn’t started from the 4th row, I might have been able to aim for the 6th or 7th place", declared the Australian, injured in addition to the left hand.
On the podium, satisfaction is also there! Spies is delighted to have found his rhythm during the race and to have fought superbly with Leon and Nori. Haga is admittedly a little disappointed not to have won but he only gives Spies 5 points in the championship. As for Leon, he would have liked to take part in the final fight but he too is delighted with this fantastic race..
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