The sky was cloudy over Miller Park for Race 2 of the U.S. round of the SBK. Fortunately the rain held off and the 48,000 people in attendance witnessed the dual victory of their own Ben Spies. The U.S. driver and his Yamaha motorcycle repeated the success of this morning, ahead of Fabrizio on his Ducati and Rea in third place.
Spies started off well and, just as in Race 1, immediately broke away with only Fabrizio and Checo able to keep up with his pace. The Spaniard fell during the fourth lap, however and just behind them Rea, Biaggi, Haslam and Kiyonari contended for second place, joined by Smrz and Nakano, who valiantly battled it out for the third step on the podium about halfway through the race. Rea, managed to stay ahead and initially fight of Biaggi’s attacks. The Roman driver, who had a perfect start from sixteenth position, ended the first lap in fifth place, followed by Haslam. The young Englishman managed to pass him just four laps before the end of the race though, but Rea reacted quickly along the Miller Park track’s long straightaway. During the last two laps, it was a three-way battle for third place among Rea, Haslam and Biaggi while the others barely managed to keep up with their pace. About halfway through the final lap, Haslam fell, blocking Biaggi and handing over third place to Rea, while the Roman driver once again brought his RSV4 to the foot of the podium, confirming the excellent potential Noale’s four-cylinder motorcycle, despite its youthful problems. During the final laps, Nakano fell behind the group that was fighting it out for third place and finished seventh, 19:659 behind Spies.
“I’m happy with this fourth place finish,” declared Biaggi. “I had a good race and I thank the team from the bottom of my heart for the great work they did today. Yesterday we encountered some new problems that significantly influenced our qualifying rounds and this made everything more difficult. I believe I have finally understood the route to solving our biggest problem; the bike isn’t stable during entries and through the curves. Now we will work with our technicians to try to find some solutions as soon as possible, even if we won’t be able to perform any tests until July. Currently, we aren’t able to continuously battle it out for the podium, but I’m certain that once this problem is solved, the situation will change radically. We hope to improve for Misano. I really want to have a good race in front of my fans.”
“Earlier, in Race 1, I knew that I could keep up with the leaders, I just needed a good start and I tried not to lose my concentration and so it went well. I battled it out for second place with Kiyonari for quite a while, then Checa cut me off to pass me and I had to brake so I wouldn’t hit him, I lost control of the steering and fell. Instead, in Race 2 I started off badly and it took a few laps for me to get back my feeling with the bike. Then, I started to race with a good pace and I was catching up to the group that was fighting it out for third place, but during the final laps, I fell behind a bit, also because the cut on my finger from Race 1 was starting to bother me a bit. However, I’m happy to have battled with the best and this means that once everything is in place as it should be, we’ll be able to take over the lead.”
RACE 1: BIAGGI FINISHES IN SIXTH PLACE
A splendid sun provided the backdrop for Race 1 of the U.S. round of Superbike at Miller Park. In front of his home crowd and on his Yamaha Factory, it was Ben Spies who took home the victory, beating out Checa on his Honda and Fabrizio on his Ducati who came in third place.
Spies took of like a lightning bolt from pole position and after just a few curves already had a modest advantage over his two challengers, Nakano and Kiyonari. And just slightly behind was a group formed by Checa, Fabrizio, Haga, Parkes and Biaggi. The Spaniard established a good pace, however, and caught up with Nakano during the fifth lap. In the sixth, the attempt to pass him went on for a while and when he cut in front of Shinya he was forced to brake, his steering froze up, he ended up on the ground and had to quit the race. During the same lap, Muggeridge’s fall forced the judges to stop the race with the red flags. Then a new round of 16 laps continued with Biaggi starting off from eighth position and Nakano, who did not participate in the race, even though he had qualified, because he didn’t return to the pit on his own motorcycle following the red flag, as required.
The second start continued with Spies well ahead of everyone else as before, but this time he was followed by Kiyonari, Checa, Rea, Parkes and Biaggi. The Japanese driver and the Spaniard tried their best to catch up with the American driver, but they were unable to do so and Kiyonari ended up in difficulty halfway through the race, falling back several positions, while Rea, Biaggi and Fabrizio lagged behind. It was from this point that the time differences were calculated with the sum of the times of the two starts. With Spies, who already had the victory sealed and Checa who was sure to take second place, a battle started between Rea and Fabrizio at a distance for the third step on the podium and between Biaggi and Kiyonari for the two remaining positions. Rea finished in third place with slightly more than a two-tenths of a second advantage over Fabrizio, but it would be the Roman driver who would step atop the podium. Biaggi, in fifth place, right behind the Ducati team driver, would have to settle for sixth place in the overall classification behind Kiyonari and Rea, with all three within slightly more than one second of one another.