Ben Spies is anticipating an intense battle for the World Superbike Championship title after clawing back significant ground on Noriyuki Haga during the latest round at Miller Motorsports Park.
Having fallen 88 points away in the fight for the championship lead, two wins on home ground, coupled to a mediocre eighth and ninth for Haga, allowed Spies to take a 35 point chunk out of his rival's advantage. They are now separated by 53 points.
Although it still gives Haga just over two races in hand, Spies was happy to have been able to capitalise on a rare 'off' weekend for the Ducati rider following a season defined by blistering speed, but occasional inconsistency.
“It was good to get a double win here,” he said. “Unfortunately Haga was not at 100 per cent, but you've got to capitalise on these weekends. He did when I had problems. We made up some points and I'm sure it's going to be a fight for the championship from here on out.”
Looking ahead to the next round, on Ducati's home ground at Misano, Spies admits he has never ridden the circuit before, but is confident he will overcome that disadvantage.
“We'll see what we can do at Misano,” he added. “I've never been to that track before, but I'm sure it's a circuit that the R1 will excel on, so we've got to go there with an open mind and ride 100 percent.”