New Yamaha R1 And Ben Spies Unstoppable At Phillip Island

World Superbike rookie Ben Spies proved to be an unstoppable combination with the new 2009 YZF-R1, having qualified on pole position yesterday, he powered to a flawless victory in the second race of the opening round at Phillip Island today. Running at the front from the outset and fighting for top position with Ducati rider Noriyuki Haga, Spies rode a perfect race, the new R1 performed impressively as he kept the pace up to the very end for a well deserved victory. Spies goes to Qatar sitting fourth in the championship standings (only a single point from third), after the Phillip Island race weekend, he is also the first American to win a World Superbike race since fellow American Colin Edwards in 2002.

It was a dramatic start to the first race when a late entry into turn two by rider Leon Haslam, forced Max Biaggi to sit up, in turn pushing Spies wide and off the track. Having dropped back several positions he then had to again avoid a coming together between Ruben Xaus and another rider, and in doing so went off track again. The American pole position starter found himself in 26th position with a lot of work to do. Spies put his head down and put in consistently fast laps, finishing the race one position off the points in 16th, and lapping at the end of the race at a similar pace to the race leaders Haga and Neukirchner.

Spies team mate Tom Sykes was forced back to 14th in the opening scrum for the first corners of race one but recovered well, making his way up to tenth position. He held the place for the majority of the race and was closing on ninth at the chequered flag. Race two and British rookie Sykes displayed the same consistency that won him the points in race one, dropping initially to 19th before getting his head down and working up steadily to take tenth position and more points for the Yamaha team in his first World Superbike race of 2009.

Ben Spies, Yamaha World Superbike Team
"The first race was pretty rubbish for me, but I knew I could come back in race two and fight it out. Unfortunately the incident with Biaggi and Haslam left me no option and forced me off, a double blow to be forced off again shortly after with the Xaus incident! I almost made it into the points and had the pace to do it. Congratulations to Nori for that one. The second race was really tough, I had a couple of attempts to break the lead, and watched Nori as much as possible to see where the opportunities were, we were both keeping the pace really high. I tried to stay as close as possible to him and waited for his grip levels to come down. With four laps to go I felt it was the right moment so I put my head down and charged and just kept going! The Pirelli tires were really good and as it was the first weekend for the new R1 it was really great. We got it done in the end, it was a really clean race and Nori was excellent to race against. There are a few more of these to go so looking forward to the next one in Qatar."

Tom Sykes, Yamaha World Superbike Team
"It's not easy in the first couple of turns with the whole pack! I got off line going in to turn one in the first race and got pushed wide, there were people everywhere! Then going into the Honda hairpin, I was just going underneath Xaus and someone came up the inside and took him out and that pushed me back. The incident lost me three or four seconds, I couldn't believe it, I guess that's the nature of Phillip Island! The most positive thing for me was that we made changes with the bike this morning and found a really good setting so I know now I can run race pace and keep at the sharp end, the bike is awesome, especially down the start finish straight. Because the bike was working so well I felt really fresh and able to keep pushing on, I was sure I could get to eighth but I ran out of time. The second race was much of the same, a frustrating start for me, dropping back to 19th place initially, but I got my head down and stuck to my pace and worked back up, taking nine places to finish tenth. I was forced to overuse the tires for the first few laps which meant my race distance suffered a bit. On a positive note I know I'm capable of running consistent times for the front of the pack."

Massimo Meregalli, Yamaha World Superbike Team manager
"Everybody was a little disappointed for Ben's bad luck in the first race, but in the end it worked out well and the second race was great! It was an unbelievable race and a really great result, Ben's riding was really impressive. Tom did not get a good start for both races but he had good pace and kept it consistently. I think if he can pick up the start then he can do very well too. We're looking forward to Qatar with a really good feeling. Both riders will have to learn the new circuit at Qatar, so we are at a bit of a disadvantage and we'll be starting from zero. I'm not too worried about this as they've both proved this weekend they can go out on a new circuit and keep with the pack."

World Superbike - Race one results

1 41 Haga N. (JPN) Ducati 1098R 34'22.631 (170,677 kph)
2 76 Neukirchner M. (GER) Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K9 0.032
3 71 Kagayama Y. (JPN) Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K9 5.347
4 84 Fabrizio M. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 6.587
5 65 Rea J. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 8.491
6 91 Haslam L. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 8.523
7 55 Laconi R. (FRA) Ducati 1098 RS 09 8.766
8 11 Corser T. (AUS) BMW S1000 RR 11.589
9 96 Smrz J. (CZE) Ducati 1098R 11.721
10 66 Sykes T. (GBR) Yamaha YZF R1 11.761
113 Biaggi M. (ITA) Aprilia RSV4 12.609
127 Checa C. (ESP) Honda CBR1000RR 19.096
13 44 Rolfo R. (ITA) Honda CBR1000RR 24.149
14 33 Hill T. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 27.416
15 56 Nakano S. (JPN) Aprilia RSV4 28.173
16 19 Spies B. (USA) Yamaha YZF R1 28.235
17 24 Roberts B. (AUS) Ducati 1098R 37.348
18 100 Tamada M. (JPN) Kawasaki ZX 10R 37.401
19 111 Xaus R. (ESP) BMW S1000 RR 42.614
20 99 Scassa L. (ITA) Kawasaki ZX 10R 1'03.794
21 25 Salom D. (ESP) Kawasaki ZX 10R
RET 15 Baiocco M. (ITA) Kawasaki ZX 10R
RET 23 Parkes B. (AUS) Kawasaki ZX 10R
RET 77 Iannuzzo V. (ITA) Honda CBR1000RR
RET 67 Byrne S. (GBR) Ducati 1098R
RET 31 Muggeridge K. (AUS) Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K9
RET9 Kiyonari R. (JPN) Honda CBR1000RR

World Superbike - Race two results

1 19 Spies B. (USA) Yamaha YZF R1 34'20.457 (170,857 kph)
2 41 Haga N. (JPN) Ducati 1098R 1.286
3 91 Haslam L. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 4.213
4 55 Laconi R. (FRA) Ducati 1098 RS 09 4.490
5 84 Fabrizio M. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 6.045
6 76 Neukirchner M. (GER) Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K9 9.947
7 96 Smrz J. (CZE) Ducati 1098R 10.174
8 71 Kagayama Y. (JPN) Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K9 12.100
9 65 Rea J. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 12.742
10 66 Sykes T. (GBR) Yamaha YZF R1 20.061
11 111 Xaus R. (ESP) BMW S1000 RR 24.854
12 56 Nakano S. (JPN) Aprilia RSV4 25.192
13 7 Checa C. (ESP) Honda CBR1000RR 27.162
14 33 Hill T. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 29.737
15 3 Biaggi M. (ITA) Aprilia RSV4 30.036
16 44 Rolfo R. (ITA) Honda CBR1000RR 38.458
17 100 Tamada M. (JPN) Kawasaki ZX 10R 44.453
18 23 Parkes B. (AUS) Kawasaki ZX 10R 45.486
19 24 Roberts B. (AUS) Ducati 1098R 46.198
20 99 Scassa L. (ITA) Kawasaki ZX 10R 57.921
21 31 Muggeridge K. (AUS) Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K9 57.989
22 11 Corser T. (AUS) BMW S1000 RR 1'00.093
23 9 Kiyonari R. (JPN) Honda CBR1000RR 1'07.820
24 15 Baiocco M. (ITA) Kawasaki ZX 10R 1'21.224
25 25 Salom D. (ESP) Kawasaki ZX 10R 1'21.276
RET 67 Byrne S. (GBR) Ducati 1098R
RET 77 Iannuzzo V. (ITA) Honda CBR1000RR

RACE REPORT - 01/03/2009

Crutchlow and Foret fight hard for points in the first Supersport battle

Yamaha World Supersport riders Fabien Foret and Cal Crutchlow fought hard as part of the leading pack in what was an incredibly closely contested race for the opening round of the 2009 season. Both riders took turns to lead the race at times, whilst fighting in an incredibly close battle with Laverty, Pitt, Sofuoglu and West for the top spots. Ultimately two false neutrals in the closing laps saw Crutchlow drop to fourth position, taking valuable points with him to the next round in Qatar. Foret suffered from increasing pain caused by yesterday's shoulder injury following a highside in qualifying but managed to hold on and score an impressive seventh place.

Cal Crutchlow, Yamaha World Supersport Team
"That was a really close race, really exciting. It has been great for me to come to Phillip Island and come fourth in my first World Supersport race on the Yamaha YZF-R6 although I was a little bit disappointed as I feel I had the potential to win. Unfortunately in the last lap I had two false neutrals, one going into Honda and the other going into the hairpin. I was closing to the guys in front, but it cost me some time. I guess that's the way racing is but I'm still happy, I'm coming away with a bag full of points and we're off to Qatar with high spirits!"

Fabien Foret, Yamaha World Supersport Team
"Wow, that was a really tough race for me! My shoulder was still in a lot of pain but I really wanted to get out and race for the first one of the season. The pack was really tight at the front so it was really exciting and I knew I had the speed to stay with the leaders. Unfortunately the pain in my shoulder got greater and greater and my arm started to go numb so it was starting to get very difficult to ride so I had to drop back a little. I'm still happy to have taken plenty of points and looking forward to going to Qatar with no injuries to fight for the podium!"

Wilco Zeelenberg, Yamaha World Supersport Team manager
"For Fabien I'm really happy, last night he was in pain so it's good for him to finish in seventh position. By the end of the race he couldn't ride properly, he couldn't roll off throttle as his arm was numb. Fourth for Cal on the Yamaha YZF-R6 was a really great finish, especially considering his two neutrals. In the end the front three managed to get away as Laverty held him up a bit, he took advantage of the false neutrals and took it past him but he caught up again by the last lap and he nearly caught the top three. It was the first time here for him so fighting with the front group was great, especially not knowing all the passing points on the track. All in all a great start for us, we're up there and when you see there is only one second between first and fourth you know we have the pace and are strong, the championship is going great to watch this year!"

World Supersport - Race results

1 54 Sofuoglu K. (TUR) Honda CBR600RR 33'42.156 (166,18 kph)
2 1 Pitt A. (AUS) Honda CBR600RR 0.060
3 13 West A. (AUS) Honda CBR600RR 0.153
4 35 Crutchlow C. (GBR) Yamaha YZF R6 1.097
5 50 Laverty E. (IRL) Honda CBR600RR 1.098
6 8 Aitchison M. (AUS) Honda CBR600RR 3.631
7 99 Foret F. (FRA) Yamaha YZF R6 5.023
8 26 Lascorz J. (ESP) Kawasaki ZX-6R 9.540
9 55 Roccoli M. (ITA) Honda CBR600RR 14.099
10 69 Nannelli G. (ITA) Triumph Daytona 675 14.202
11 14 Lagrive M. (FRA) Honda CBR600RR 15.110
12 51 Pirro M. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R6 15.204
13 77 Veneman B. (NED) Suzuki GSX-R600 15.263
14 24 McCoy G. (AUS) Triumph Daytona 675 26.607
15 127 Harms R. (DEN) Honda CBR600RR 29.707
16 96 Smrz M. (CZE) Triumph Daytona 675 29.876
17 21 Fujiwara K. (JPN) Kawasaki ZX-6R 30.157
18 7 Vostarek P. (CZE) Honda CBR600RR 36.918
19 83 Holland R. (AUS) Honda CBR600RR 42.324
20 30 Gunther J. (GER) Honda CBR600RR 45.388
21 9 Dell'Omo D. (ITA) Honda CBR600RR 1'01.742
22 28 Vos A. (NED) Honda CBR600RR 1'02.450
23 78 Geronimi S. (AUS) Suzuki GSX-R600 1'09.795
24 32 Lai F. (ITA) Honda CBR600RR 1'09.839
25 88 Guerra Y. (ESP) Yamaha YZF R6 1'19.097
RET 71 Morillas J. (ESP) Yamaha YZF R6
RET 105 Vizziello G. (ITA) Honda CBR600RR
RET 117 Praia M. (POR) Honda CBR600RR
RET 5 Pradita T. (INA) Yamaha YZF R6
RET 19 Szkopek P. (POL) Triumph Daytona 675