World Superbike Race Interviews | Portimao

Ben Spies and Yamaha made history today, claiming the first ever Word Superbike title for the Yamaha World Superbike Team. In yet another Ben Spies Masterclass of riding, The American rookie sensation took a race win and a well executed fifth place finish to lift the title for Yamaha for the first time.

Race one saw a textbook performance from Spies, taking the holeshot on the first corner and leading from the first lap. Perfectly executed lines and smooth riding saw him cross the line nearly two seconds ahead of a determined Biaggi who had stalked him for the entire race. Championship rival Noriyuki Haga crashed out six laps into the race, leaving Spies some breathing room for race two.

Ben Spies Speaks…

" I’ve got to thank Yamaha for giving me the bike I need to win. We had a really good first race, in the second we did what we had to do to win. It was quite difficult to keep it in check as the pace was pretty fast, I saw I had a couple of people behind me and I knew that if Nori won I had to be in sixth and that’s where I was so I tried to get a bit of a gap on them and stay out of trouble. Max came through the inside of me and ran off a couple of times which really freaked me out so I went to get past him and then settled in for some nice fast laps to the end. It’s been a spectacular day and I can’t thank those people enough that have been behind me. It’s been incredible to do it for Yamaha, and especially in my first year here. I don’t think I really realize what’s happening right now but I’m sure it’s going to hit me in a couple of days!"

Noriyuki Haga Speaks…

"All weekend I have had problems with the set up of the bike, mainly with the tyres that didn’t give me total confidence. Usually we have a package that works well at every track and here too we didn’t change so much with regard to the setting, only really tyres. In Race 1 we mounted two hard tyres and they didn’t perform as we’d hoped, they didn’t give me the necessary grip so it was hard to brake and unfortunately I fell even though I wasn’t pushing so hard. We changed bikes for Race 2, just to be sure, as well as changing tyres of course. This time I had more grip and was able to make a good race. Unfortunately second in the race was not enough to take the title and it’s a real pity, but I must say that I have had a great first year with this fantastic team that always provides me with a good bike. I thank my whole technical team, Ducati, the sponsors and the Clinica Mobile who have taken good care of me throughout the season. My compliments go to Ben who has been such a strong rival this year and even though he is going to MotoGP next year, I am sure we will remain friends. This week we’ll start testing in preparation for next year. This year was a new adventure with Ducati and we’ll continue to give 100% in 2010."

Michel Fabrizio Speaks…

"The first race was very difficult. I didn’t make the best start but immediately started to push to make up time. Then, following behind Nori, I lost concentration for a minute when I saw him go down. I then tried to catch the leading group but I didn’t have great feeling with the front tyre and then, about eight laps from the end, the rear tyre started to drop off too. In Race 2 on the other hand I was able to fight hard against Rea. The last time we raced together, at Misano, he got past me so it was my turn to do the same to him today. It was only for the fact that Rea made a mistake on the last lap that I was able to pass him as he was very strong today. I am very sorry for Nori of course but we demonstrated that we are strong and, for me, both Ben and Nori are winners because they have given us a fantastic season’s racing, fighting until the very end for the title.

Jonathan Rea Speaks…

I enjoyed the first race, although I was on my own for a lot of the time until I caught Biaggi and he ended up running wide. That was good for my championship position and it’s what I was going for in the second race. I ended up in a bit of a fight with Michel [Fabrizio] but ended up making a mistake on the last lap and allowing him past. All in all, it’s been my best Superbike weekend with a double podium and I’m really happy because the bike’s in good shape to go into next year. I’d like to congratulate Ben on his fabulous job this year and thank my team for working so hard to make this season fantastic for me, too.

Max Biaggi Speaks…

"We had some small problems this weekend," said Biaggi, "but I drove over them. I’m satisfied because I’m still hurting from yesterday’s fall and at the beginning of the race I didn’t know if I would manage to make it to the end. I was fine at the beginning, but during the final laps, I lost my strength. I managed to hold on to third place just the same, though, which I believe is an excellent result, considering my physical condition. Now we’ll make some modifications to the RSV4 to try and do better in Race 2."

"It was a rough race," declared Biaggi. "We made some changes to the bike after Race 1 and they didn’t help us so it was really a shame because we could have had a good result. I started off well and I tried to stay in the lead, but it was really difficult, the problems from the first race were accentuated and I made a lot of errors. Then, my physical condition made the situation worse because in order to try to recover, I had to make a lot more effort. In any case, I’m very happy because I managed to hold on to fourth place in the overall rankings, which is an excellent result, both for me and for Aprilia during this debut year. Together we reached a goal that even the most optimistic of fans couldn’t have predicted."

Carlos Checa Speaks…

Not a great way to end a nice association with the Ten Kate team. Race one was very frustrating because we suffered from the same problems we had during qualifying yesterday. In race two, we improved the bike a little, going a little bit softer in the rear and changing the tyre. It definitely made things better because while everyone else’s pace was slower than in the first race, I was able to improve my lap times. I was just passing Kagayama when I had a problem with the engine and the race was finished. It’s been a great experience, and it’s been great to see the team working better and better all season.

Leon Haslam Speaks…

"In race one we had a few issues with the setup using a too hard front tyre. I ended up crashing because I was touching the shifter which was too bad as it would have been an easy top five finish otherwise. In race two we got the settings loads better and I just got past Spies and was in a big group of riders, up to the front runners. This was not the best of weekends but it has been a fantastic year so we just have to forget about today with the injuries and the crashes. It’s been an awesome year and now I’m looking forward to the future."

Troy Corser Speaks…

"I had a big problem with chattering in the first race and pitted twice to change first the rear tyre and then again to change the front. However, the problem carried on, so I just had to keep going as best I could to give some info to the engineers. We’re not actually sure if it was a problem with the tyres or something else, but no doubt the guys will look at all the data and sort it out."

"I used my number two bike for the second race and it had only done a handful of laps so I wasn’t as familiar with it as my number one bike. It felt OK up until about half race distance, but then the grip went and the bike started spinning quite a bit."

"I couldn’t get enough forward push without it spinning and that prevented me from pushing any harder. There are some areas we need to work on, but it’s hard trying different things during a race weekend when you also have to qualify well. Some of the problems only happen after a tyre has done 12-15 laps and we don’t often do long runs in practice because we are trying to get a good bike set-up."

"Today has been a bit frustrating because the bike is improving, but sometimes it improves and then we get a new problem to solve. We just need more time on the bike and more laps, but I really feel that the bike has the potential to be a contender and I am keen to work hard with the team and make that happen."

Ruben Xaus Speaks…

"Just an unlucky day for me, or maybe it has been an unlucky season. Checa’s bike blew up and covered the front of my bike with oil and obviously some of it went on to the front tyre. That caused the crash, so I am happy that the crash wasn’t my fault, but I am unhappy with the result."

"This season has been hard for us all, but we knew that before the start and it is thanks to all the hard work everybody has put in that we have had so many top ten finishes. Considering that this is our first season, I think we should be happy about what we have achieved so far – and there’s much more to come, I’m sure of it."

"The bike has improved since the last time I rode it and that makes me eager to find out how much more I can push it. The team are fantastic and the team spirit has been superb right from the start. It’s not nice ending the season with a broken leg, but there was nothing I could do about the crash and I prefer to think about the potential of the bike and working with Troy and the rest of the team to put it on the podium."

Tom Sykes Speaks…

"We came here this weekend aware of the injury but still looking to give it everything and end the season on a high. Unfortunately further x-rays yesterday at the Clinica Mobile revealed a potential crack in the bone which riding is aggravating further. I’m not able to ride to my best ability so unfortunately for my health needed to sit out the last two races. I’m very disappointed for the team as I wanted to repay them for the hard work they have put in for me all year."