Ben Spies (Yamaha World Superbike) and Jonathan Rea (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) scored the two World Superbike wins at Misano in Italy this past weekend in front of 65,000 spectators. Spies took his eighth win of his "rookie" season in the first race, while Rea grabbed his maiden Superbike win in the second.
The Ducati Xerox pairing of Michel Fabrizio, third and second in the two races, and Noriyuki Haga (seventh and third) were also key players in the day’s action, and the Japanese rider now has a 48 point series lead over Spies and 55 over his team-mate Fabrizio.
It was Brit Jonathon Rea’s first World Superbike win ever — and Honda’s first this season — at a torrid and intermittently wet affair at Misano, near the top end of Italy’s east coast. Spies took the first race on the factory Santander Yamaha after weather changes forced a mid-race change of bikes for all riders, but Spies suffered clutch issues in the second race and was never a factor.
It was also the first time this year in Spies’ rookie season that he hasn’t been on pole; that honour went to Czech Jakub Smrz on the Guandalini Racing Ducati 1098. With a pair of fourths, Smrz has taken another big step forward in his campaign to be regarded as something other than a really fast crasher; the young Czech’s performances this season have really shown a huge step forward.
Farther back, the so-far impressive Aprilia team wasn’t particularly shining at Misano, as Max Biaggi managed to card only a 13th and a 10th, while his team-mate Shinya Nakano had to make do with a ninth and a 13th. On the BMW side of the equation, things weren’t any better as Troy Corser crashed out of the first wet race and managed only 19th in the second, while his Spanish team-mate Rueben Xaus had to make do with a 14th and 16th.
With the season more than half-gone, Noriyuki Haga on the factory Xerox Ducati squad still leads the championship chase (and Haga has always had bad luck at Misano and was glad to score the points he got) with Ben Spies ever closer and his Ducati team-mate Michel Fabrizio not far behind.
The top 10 are:
1. Noriyuki Haga, Japan, Xerox Ducati, 292 points; 2. Ben Spies, USA, Santander Yamaha, 244; 3. Michel Fabrizio, Italy, Xerox Ducati, 237; 4. Jonathon Rea, U.K., Hannspree Ten Kate Honda, 167; 5. Max Biaggi, Italy, Aprilia, 135; 6. Leon Haslam, U.K., Stiggy Honda, 134; 7. Tom Sykes, U.K., Santander Yamaha, 130; 8. Carlos Checa, Spain, Hannspree Ten Kate Honda, 109; 9. Jakub Smrz, Czech Republic, Guandalini Racing Ducati, 108; 10. Ryuichi Kiyonari, Japan, Ten Kate Honda Racing, 98.
The next event is set for Donington in the U.K. June 28.