Quadrupled from Ducati Xerox to Kyalami !
For the big comeback of the SBK World Cup in South Africa this weekend, Spies signed the 6th pole of his career – in 6 races! -, but Haga and Fabrizio proved intractable … In Supersport, Laverty and Crutchlow share the honors. Story.
First Superbike race
Noriyuki Haga got off to the best start and took the first turn in the lead, despite his 4th place on the grid. Ben Spies, preceded by Max Biaggi on the stretch, is 2nd at the end of the first straight: he is followed by the Roman Emperor then by Fabrizio, Checa, Rea, Smrz, Nakano, Kagayama and Morais.
In the 1st lap, Michel Fabrizio passes in front of Ben Spies and joins his leader Ducati. Behind, Biaggi is overwhelmed by the two Honda Ten Kate de Checa and Rea, back at the forefront. Further on, we can see Ruben Xaus and his BMW n ° 111 in the gravel…
"I think I was pushed by Smrz", explained the Spaniard. A valid excuse a priori since in the following lap, Jakub and his Ducati n ° 96 point at the bottom of the classification, far behind Shaun Whyte (GMT94) until now last on the track !
At the end of the 2nd lap, the race changes leader: Ducati n ° 84 takes over from n ° 41, while Yamaha n ° 19 remains slightly behind … Little by little, Checa and Biaggi, then Rea, lose touch with the top three…
"We suffered from some vibrations in the turns and on the way out. We didn’t have a lot of grip, which forced us to put on soft tires.", confides Max Biaggi. And the Japanese Kagayama and Kiyonari confirm that the track does not make the task easy: very bumpy, the Kyalami coating puts the cycle parts of the machines to the test….
However, another Japanese driver seems to have adapted perfectly to the layout: during the first half of the race, Haga remains at the aspi of his teammate … A few lengths from the two official Ducat ‘, Ben Spies also seems to delay.
The assault is given in the 11th lap: Nitro Nori raises the tone and tumbles into the lead of the race on the following lap. "Given all the suspension problems encountered on Friday and Saturday, I did not expect to ride in Michel and Ben’s pace !", however will testify Nori.
"But I got off to a good start and tried to stick to Michal, then he seemed to have a little problem and I placed my attack", summarizes quite simply the leader of the championship, who quickly climbs to half a second of his pursuers that he lets bicker between them…
"The first race turned into a great battle between Ben and me, it’s just unfortunate that it was for the 2nd and not the 1st place", remarks from his side Fabrizio!"Nori was too fast in the first section which prevented me from catching him"
Second in the championship 54 points behind Haga, Spies cannot afford to let the Japanese go. In the 17th lap, the American managed to overtake the Italian posted in front of him since the start of the race and attempted a comeback….
But Haga did not give in: warned that his opponent "n ° 19" in the championship was after him, the Japanese still increased his lead, which reached 1.5 seconds two laps later. Ben tries to retaliate, but his R1 calls him to order !
Five laps from the end, Ben almost starts in the high side: at the end of the turn, his Yam ‘unsettles him, his outside foot leaves his footrest and time to recover his support and his spirits, the n ° 19 is overtaken by Ducat ‘n ° 84 !
"Unfortunately I made a mistake", readily admits the young – but double – champion in AMA Superbike!"I was very strong on some portions but was wasting too much time on other corners and it didn’t"…
The podium thus determined – except for gasoline failure or last minute suicidal bird? -, attention shifts to the following two drivers: Rea and Biaggi, who are fighting a pretty battle for fourth place! This duel is also duplicated for 6th place: Checa on Honda Ten Kate – like Rea – fights against Nakano on Aprilia – like Biaggi…
These two clashes turn to the advantage of the CBRs prepared by the teams of Ronald Ten Kate! "In fact, we can say that the season started three events before us", recalls Jonathan Rea,"but development is progressing well now and I would like to thank all the team members who have worked so hard in the right direction".
The Englishman – who therefore finished 4th in the race – will even go so far as to thank the wider circle of the Batavian team: "I would like to apologize to their wives for the long nights they spent at the workshop" !
In the last two laps, Haga releases the pressure as Fabrizio puts on the coal! But the Italian only manages to grab a half second in the last lap: Noriyuki Haga wins the first round at Kyalami ahead of his teammate Michel Fabrizio and his direct competitor in the championship, Ben Spies.
"My arm was no problem for me and I must say I am happy to see that there are fewer birds here in Kyalami than in Monza !", jokes Nitro Nori when he gets off his motorcycle..
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