After closing to within ten points of World Superbike leader Noriyuki Haga with three race victories in a row, Yamaha's rookie sensation Ben Spies saw his hard work come undone at Valencia on Sunday.

Despite claiming a perfect third Superpole in a row with a lap time 0.8sec faster than third-on-the-grid Haga, Spies was unable to stop the Japanese veteran charging to his first double race victory of the season.

Whilst Spies finished a distant second to Haga in race two, a rare race one accident cost the American valuable championship ground and he left Spain 40 points behind the Japanese.

Spies lost the front of his R1 at the fast first turn on lap 10 of 23, while holding third place behind Haga and Max Neukirchner. The #19 was fortunately unhurt, but his Yamaha was sent cartwheeling through the air.

The accident marked the first time in Spies' career - including his four full-seasons in AMA Superbike - that he had crashed and been unable to finish a Superbike race.

After the incident a disappointed Spies said he was unable to say for sure what had caused the fall, but revealed he had been suffering an electrical problem.

"I was pushing really hard to make up for an electrical issue going into the corner and crashed," he said.

Spies wheelied off the line in race two, leaving him fifth on lap one - just behind Haga. Having seen an early attempt to overtake Nori firmly rebuffed, the pair worked their way methodically up the order to sit first and second by lap six.

The time between them was just over one second at that stage, but Spies was unable to keep pace with Haga who rode to a 5.105sec victory over the AMA champion.

"I tried as hard as I could," Spies said of his efforts at catching Haga. "In order to have any chance of beating Nori today I would have had to stay with him from the start. We had some minor issues with our bike that kept me from getting a good start. By the time I broke into second he was too far ahead and riding too well."

In spite of having his worst WSBK weekend to date, Spies remained upbeat about his prospects moving forward.

"It's still very early in the championship," he said. "We knew the Ducatis would be strong here and it proved to be true. We pick it up from here and go to Assen to try to get back on track and see if we can reset and get back to challenging for wins again."

Haga and Spies have now won three races each this season, but Haga has also claimed three second places, while Spies has one second position and two non-scores.

The WSBK series now moves to Assen, in The Netherlands, for round four of the 2009 championship on April 26. It will be the first race for Spies at the legendary Dutch circuit.

"We lost points during race one, however in the second race we came back to achieve second position which is good for championship points," said team manager Massimo Meregalli. "We've learnt from the mistakes of race one... as Ben said, in Assen we will be ready to step it up."


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