The clock is ticking down to the 14th and final round of the 2009 World Superbike Championship at the Portimao circuit in Portugal. With just ten points separating championship leader Haga from Yamaha World Superbike rider Ben Spies everything is to play for on race day. If Spies can secure two race wins, he will walk away with not just the championship title, but a well earned place in the World Superbike history books.
The first day of free practice did not go according to plan at Imola today. The first scheduled Superbike free practice session lasted for just two laps, with less than perfect conditions resulting in a huge high side crash for rider Tom Sykes. Luckily he walked away uninjured. Touring Car racing the weekend previously had resulted in a dirty track with minimal grip and spilt oil in places. The track was re-cleaned and practice got underway after several hours delay. Spies was quick from the word go, dropping into second position two tenths behind leader Byrne as soon as he started.
The return of Imola to the Superbike World Championship has been greeted with glorious sunshine and a massive influx of the general public today as the gates were opened for Free Thursday.
Yamaha World Superbike riders Ben Spies and Tom Sykes are ready for action at the famous Nurburgring circuit in the Eifel Mountains this weekend. Following a five week break for the summer, Spies is refreshed and raring to take the fight to rival Noriyuki Haga for the championship lead with only seven points separating them after the last round in Brno.
With only four rounds remaining the closing races of the 2009 season look set to be a hotly fought contest for the championship title.
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.
Having learnt the long complicated Brno track Yamaha World Superbike rider Ben Spies got down to business today in the second qualifying session. Spies speed was never on doubt and as the track knowledge increased so the lap times came down. He ended the session on the top spot a tenth of a second faster than nearest rival Max Biaggi although overall times put him in second behind the Italian.
Biaggi’s claim to the top spot was short-lived as Spies went straight out in the first Superpole session to score the fastest time, without using a Q tyre.
Yamaha World Superbike Team riders Ben Spies and Tom Sykes ventured out today for their first time on the Brno circuit in the Czech Republic. Both riders spent the first free practice session learning the track layout and testing out the set up of their bike in advance of the afternoon’s qualifying session. Spies showed his usual flair for understanding a circuit in record time, ending the session in third position just two tenths off the leader Max Biaggi.
The World Superbike Championship has the Italian round of Imola back on the calendar this year so the teams have spent the last two days testing their machines there in preparation for the upcoming races on the 27th September. The track is new for both Ben Spies and Tom Sykes however it was clear from the two day test that neither the lack of track knowledge or the sweltering Italian sunshine was going to prevent them from displaying some serious pace. Day one saw Spies leading the field until the very end of the sessions where rive Fabrizio made a couple of extra tenths on fresh tyres.
Race one saw drama unfold as the World Superbike riders headed out for a wet race but were forced to change midway for slicks as the rain stopped and the sun broke out. Yamaha rider Ben Spies spent most of the wet heat in 4th tucked up behind rival Fabrizio as he paced himself on the damp track. He picked the ideal time to change to his dry bike on lap 13, emerging from the pits right behind Fabrizio, taking him swiftly for 8th position. Spies then displayed a typical Texan masterclass in racing, working swiftly up to take Xaus for the lead on lap 17, leading from there to the chequered flag.
Ben Spies made it an impressive five Superpole triumphs in five races with a blistering lap in the decisive qualifying session at the Autodromo di Monza. The Yamaha World Superbike team’s Texan rookie star, who received his Superpole trophy from Troy Bayliss, totally disintegrated the Australian champion’s previous record mark of 1’44.931 to clinch the pole with a time of 1 minute 44.073 seconds.