Yamaha rider Ben Spies lived up to the hype again in Qatar.
He rode an incredible two races to take his second and third consecutive victories in the Losail heat. Dropping to fifth from the start of the first race, the three-time AMA champion moved up to third position on lap four to tuck in behind race leader Max Biaggi and second placed rider Noriyuki Haga for most of the race.
The super calm Texan waited for his moment six laps from the end to make his move. As Haga moved out to look up the inside of Biaggi, Spies took the opportunity and passed him on the inside, before taking Biaggi on the next corner as the Italian race leader ran wide. From the moment he took the lead Spies win was never in doubt as he cleanly pulled away from the battle for second. Spies’ team-mate Tom Sykes had a frustrating start, dropping several places up to ninth position before fighting his way back through to finish seventh.
Race two saw Spies dominate again, after initially dropping a couple of places from the start line, he moved up behind Haga and Biaggi again before moving out to take the lead on lap seven. The American superstar then put in a sensational performance of perfect laps, increasing the comfort zone until taking the chequered flag in style, comfortably ahead of second place Haga. Spies leaves Qatar in second place in the standings, ten points behind Haga in the championship. Spies also takes the new lap record for the Qatar circuit away with him this weekend.
Tom Sykes got a better start to race two and fought with Yukio Kiyonari and Troy Corser in the opening laps for fifth position. Fighting behind the leading pack Sykes held his own with an impressive race pace, putting in consistent laps to finish the race in fifth position.
Ben Spies, Yamaha World Superbike Team
"It was an extremely tough first race, I got an ok start and got to the back of Nori and Max after a few laps. All three of us were strong in different parts of the track so it was really interesting. It was very hard to pass them both, It was when Nori was looking up the inside of Max, that I had my chance to get inside of him, and then Max ran a bit wide so I got through. Once I got it done I got my head down and kept it clean, it was good enough to win. In the second race Nori set a really good pace first for a few laps so I just tried to keep the same rhythm. Eventually I managed to get past and just kept my head down and tried to open up a gap. It was a hard race, but a better race for me than first one as I could concentrate on riding my lines. Hopefully when we go to Valencia we’ll be up there fighting at the front again! A good weekend for the team, they’re not always like that but we’ll take them when they come."
Tom Sykes, Yamaha World Superbike Team
"I was very disappointed with race one, I didn’t get the best of starts but it was turns one and two that really let me down so I played a lot of catch up and needed to make it happen. In race two we changed a couple of things on the bike and got a decent start. I tried not to get into trouble in the first two corners and got a couple of people in front of me who I didn’t want there so put my head down and eventually took them. We got a nice gap behind us and so I was looking ahead and trying to work onto a podium position. At one stage I thought we were there but struggled in a couple of places and had to override the tire so lost a bit of pace. The team has been great, we’re taking it step by step so hopefully we’ll be on the podium in Valencia!"
Massimo Meregalli, Yamaha World Superbike Team Manager
"The weekend went really well for us, both races were fantastic for Ben and Tom also did a very good job. We are improving and getting closer to the championship lead. Thanks to everyone as what we’ve done is the result of a really great team; here, the riders, Japan, everyone is working very well together so a big thank you for everybody."