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Haga takes race one Valencia victory.

Noriyuki Haga has pulled 35 points clear at the top of the 2009 World Superbike standings after a race one victory at Valencia was combined with an accident for Ben Spies.

Superstar rookie Spies, winner of three of the first four races, lost the front of his Yamaha through the fast first turn just before the halfway stage, while seeking a way past second placed Max Neukirchner.

The American rookie fortunately escaped harm in the incident, but his R1 was heavily damaged as it was sent cartwheeling through the Spanish gravel.

Haga - who claimed yesterday that he wasn't worried by Spies' huge Superpole advantage - was already two-seconds clear of the field at the time of Spies' accident.

The Ducati Xerox star remained out of touch to the finish, eventually claiming his second win of the season, after the first race of the year at Phillip Island, by 3.677sec from team-mate Michel Fabrizio.

In the process, Haga broke Neil Hodgson's Valencia WSBK race lap record, which had stood since 2003.

Second on the grid Regis Laconi had led the field through turn one, but was demoted by Haga moments later and lost second place to Neukirchner later in the lap. Neukirchner's Alstare Suzuki then drafted past Haga along the home straight, but Haga regained the lead for the final time by passing the German into turn one of lap three.

Neukirchner was thus left to defend against Spies, who had dropped from pole to fifth on lap one - but gained a position when a fast-starting Troy Corser lost the front of his BMW, while holding an impressive fourth on lap two.

AMA champion Spies relegated Laconi's DFX Ducati from third on lap six, but the #19's steady climb up the order got no further. Spies' exit gave Neukirchner welcome breathing room until Fabrizio began to apply pressure in the closing stages - the Italian successfully diving inside the German with three laps to go.

The last lap began with Fabrizio, Neukirchner and Laconi covered by just 0.8sec in second, third and fourth places. Fabrizio, under pressure for results after a double DNF at Qatar, made his 1198 as wide as possible during the final lap, thwarting Neukirchner's hopes of second position.



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