WSBK: Spies Scores More Championship Points In Assen
Spies takes win in 1st race – highsides the bike in race 2
It was another mixed weekend’s racing for the Yamaha World Superbike Team at the famous TT circuit in Assen. An incredibly close first race Saw Ben Spies take the chequered flag a mere 0.154 seconds ahead of Championship rival Noriyuki Haga. Although initially the race leader, the American Yamaha rider had struggled to find a good race pace for most of the race, dropping back from first to third position on lap 11 behind race leader Haga and second place Leon Haslam.
Spies tucked in and followed the pair until the three laps from the end of the race when he and Haslam spent three corners abreast in a heart stopping battle for second position. There was no daylight between the bikes as they exited turn five, Spies coming out the victor and setting off after Haga as the penultimate lap drew to a close. He attempted a pass on the hairpin where Haga had passed him earlier but failed to take top spot, eventually pulling a daring pass on the last corner he shot through to take the chequered flag.
Tom Sykes enjoyed a good first race, starting from eighth on the grid the British rider made a strong pass up the inside on the first corner to move up into sixth position. The back straight then offered the opportunity to pass again and move up to fifth. Two laps later and another clever move up the inside on turn one saw Sykes into fourth position. He hung on with good race pace and held fourth for the chequered flag. Race two saw a difficult start and a lot of work to do. Sykes fought hard to make up places and briefly fought with Rea for fifth before settling for a sixth position finish.
Spies leaves Assen still second in the championship with 120 points, trailing leader Haga by 60. Team-mate Sykes heads to Monza in sixth place in the standings with 70 points.
Ben Spies, Yamaha World Superbike Team (1st,dnf)
“We got the win in race one and everything was pretty good with that. It took me a while to find a good race pace but as the tyres started to go off I found it and we managed to make some moves, it was pretty exciting at the end, really fantastic racing with both Haslam and Haga. Race two I was feeling good, the bike, even only a lap and a half in, felt better than with the tyres in race one. I was pushing and got out wide in turn one and touched the Astroturf piece and high-sided. It’s a shame as I felt really good and the bike felt right. You never know if you can win the race but I felt we could have had a faster race than the first. We’ll build on it though, we had a good test in Monza so we’re set up for there and I haven’t hurt myself today so it’s ok.”
Tom Sykes, Yamaha World Superbike Team (4th,6th)
“The first race went ok, I was pretty pleased with the results. I managed to make a couple of passes early and move up but then lost some feeling in the front which held me back. Race two was not what I expected. I got a horrendous start and left myself a lot of work to do. I worked hard over the next few laps to make some passes but unfortunately let the front group get away. I was bitterly disappointed with that because I knew I could run with the front. I’d just like to thank all the boys for this weekend putting so much hard work in. We had two offs and I left them with some work to do but they came through and had my bikes ready for me to race.”
Massimo Meregalli, Yamaha World Superbike Team Manager
“The first race was unbelievable, Ben was really impressive and deserved the win. In the second race he had a bad high-side, and unfortunately missed the opportunity to challenge Nori for the second win. Tom had a good fourth in the first race and a good sixth in the second. He’s coming along really well. I think he’ll get the podium he’s chasing soon. We’re ready for Monza and confident of success.”