WSBK – On the track, the Haga – Spies duel continues … – Second Superbike race

On the track, the Haga – Spies duel continues…

WSBK - On the track, the Haga - Spies duel continues ... - Second Superbike race

The Mondial Superbike took place this weekend on the legendary Assen track. True to its tradition, the Dutch circuit offered us a superb show, in both the Superbike and Supersport categories! Sensitive heart, refrain…

Second Superbike race

Ben Spies got off to a good start again but Noriyuki Haga passed him after a few meters. At the end of the straight line, Leon Haslam caused a sensation by trying a big braking but the Englishman had to widen and let his two opponents pass as well as Max Neukirchner, determined to repair his blunder in the 1st round.

In the Aprilia box it is astonishment: Max Biaggi appears on the control screens driving in slow motion. "Right at the start, my clutch had a problem and forced me to abandon the second race", will explain the Roman Emperor on his site…

"I was surprised and didn’t want to believe it but it happens !", will consider Max, before recalling that the next event will take place at his home in Italy, on the circuit of Monza !

In the first lap, Spies took the lead … but very quickly – in the next lap! -, the American finds himself kneeling in the gravel … The Texan is stunned, but much less than his poor R1 who has just performed an impressive series of flips and somersaults !

"I felt good, the bike and the tires were better than in the first round", will regret the Yamaha rider before revealing the exact reason for his fall:"I was attacking, I missed the first corner, so I rolled on the artificial turf and I went highside".

Haga, who was not asking for so much, therefore inherited 1st place ahead of Neukirchner and Haslam. "First of all, I’m sorry for Ben and I hope he’s okay", will testify the sympathetic Japanese on his return to the pits…

In the meantime, the leader of the championship has the possibility of scoring very big points and does not take long to pack up. From the 3rd lap, Nitro Nori erases the record from the shelves

Behind him, a battle opens between the Suz ‘of Neukirchner and the Honda of Haslam. But Neukirchner makes another mistake: this time, he misses braking and has to leave the track momentarily !

Mad with rage, Max can however take a passageway and quickly rejoin the track: he finds himself 5th behind Smrz, Fabrizio and Haslam who provide a warm atmosphere on the track! Laconi, a time in the pots of Ducati n ° 84 and 96 (Fabrizio and Smrz), had to give in and is quickly overwhelmed by three other great leaders of this start of the race: Checa, Rea and Sykes.

Karl Muggeridge, who was struggling to get into the Top 10, is the victim of a nasty highside: he goes into an endless roll and roll … stacked. The pilot’s job is tough! For his part, alone in the lead – in the race as in the championship -, Noriyuki Haga savored the good sides.

"After the first race we changed the suspension settings a bit and the bike became really comfortable to ride.", will rejoice the n ° 41! His teammate is not left out: Fabrizio occupies the 2nd place and could well be offered the double to Ducati Xerox…

But Michel is followed very closely by Haslam and Smrz! And only a few lengths away is the peloton made up of Neukirchner, Checa, Rea, Laconi and Sykes.

In the 7th lap, our only representative made a mistake: Regis Laconi visited a gravel trap and joined the track in last position. A lap earlier, David Checa of GMT 94 had to retire due to tire problem.

However, the French team wants to be optimistic: "the engine is still in endurance configuration and MG Competition will have completed our "Superbike" engine for Monza", we read on its official website.

Christophe Guyot insists: "when I see that we finish just 1.3 seconds from Ben Spies (under test, Editor’s note) and that we return 12 km / h to his machine, this confirms me in the qualities of David and the bike on the cycle side … strongly Monza with the new engine…"

But in Assen, the second round continues: Fabrizio holds the high pie in Haslam despite a Ducati much more fierce than the Honda. It’s the impression seen from the outside in any case … Smrz for his part is content to observe his two opponents.

Equally exciting is the battle for 5th place. Tom Sykes, who has been playing in the shadow of his teammate Ben Spies since the start of the season, is more noticed: the Briton successively doubles Carlos Checa, Neukirchner and Rea !

"In the second run I got off to a terrible start and gave myself a lot of work. I worked hard the following laps to make several passes but unfortunately I let the leading group run away", said Sykes at the end of the race..

In front of it, Haslam had to wait for the 13th lap to take 2nd place! Fabrizio and his official Ducati are now just ahead of Smrz and his private Ducati prepared by Team Guandalini. One of the most efficient duets in terms of pure time which now seeks to "transform" its tests…

Haga, meanwhile, has little to prove: after increasing his lead to more than four seconds, the Japanese rider keeps pace with his pursuers and patiently waits for the checkered flag to drop..

His compatriots do not have the same success: Kiyonari on Honda and Tamada on Kawasaki both have just given up on technical glitches. As for Nakano, the poor man did not even take the start of this second race when he had to abandon the first because of a slip that was not serious for him..

Aprilia is therefore not at the party, but BMW is hardly more: Troy Corser carries out a new solo race in 10th place and has to endure a left hand that has become painful again, while Ruben Xaus fights against Yukio Kagayama – here is the 4th Japanese! – for the gain of the 11th place.

5th place is still coveted by Sykes and Rea. Checa observes them from afar but must especially watch Neukirchner and Byrne who are behind him. The leading group, taunted by the untouchable Haga, is still made up of Haslam, Fabrizio and Smrz.

Since returning to 2nd place, Leon "Pocket Rocket" Haslam has managed to keep the two Ducati riders company behind – slightly, about 1 second – and the focus is on Fabrizio and Smrz. The Italian brilliantly resists the pressure put on him by the Czech and yet, there is no feat….

"In the last laps, I struggled to change my gear ratios and it forced me to slow down in the last loop", will regret the n ° 84. Behind him, Smrz feels it:"I stayed behind Michel and he had a problem or something, it was very tight but I was able to overtake him just before the end".

For the spectators, the surprise is therefore total when they see Jakub Smrz tumbling on the finish line in 3rd position behind Haslam and of course, Haga !

For the public, the Japanese victory is less surprising after seeing him lead the race almost from start to finish. And yet: "I think it must have been 9 years since I won here, it must have been in 2000, so I’m very happy", recalls the Ducati rider.

The leader of the provisional classification considerably increases his lead: Haga now has 180 points against 120 for Spies, the only driver to have beaten the Japanese in the race this season … With his two podiums, Haslam climbed to 3rd place with 94 points, followed by Fabrizio (80).

On the other hand, Neukirchner lost two places: he is now 7th with 75 points. Sykes (70) performs the opposite operation: he doubles Biaggi (65) and Laconi (64).

In the constructors’ classification, Ducati is tracing its place and its score on those of its driver n ° 41: first with 180 points, ahead of Yamaha (145). Honda (109) can thank Haslam for its two good performances, while the other manufacturers leave Assen much less satisfied: Suzuki (76) and Aprilia (68) only gleaned 11 points, BMW 12 (43 points in all ) and Kawasaki two (10 in total).

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