Ben Spies is remaining cautious about the prospect of winning the 2009 World Superbike title in his maiden season, despite snatching the lead of the standings for the first time at the Nurburgring.

Spies went into the German round of the series needing just seven more points than Noriyuki Haga to move ahead overall, but went beyond that to come away with 18 points in hand.

Indeed, a twelfth win of the season and a second place finish behind Jonathan Rea would ultimately prove more than enough for him to assume an advantage, particularly after Haga was forced to retire in race two.

The first time anyone other than Haga has led the standings all season, Spies' performance during the opening race was particularly significant as it saw him take on and beat the Japanese rider in a straight fight.

"I got caught up in a tough battle with Rea," said Spies. "Then I used up my tyres a bit reeling in Nori. He was tough in the first section of the track and that made it hard for me to get by and once I did I wasn't able to shake him.

"I did my best on the other sections of the track to get a gap and fortunately I was able to click off some really good lap times to finish off the race."

A difficult start in race two would prevent him from completing the double, but he was gracious in defeat after being out paced by Rea on the Ten Kate Honda.

"I didn't get off the line well and then a bunch of guys came together in the first turn," he added. "Once everything settled I was able to start clicking in some good laps. The difference in the second race was that the track was cooler and everyone was turning in quick laps.

"Once I came to the front I found I didn't quite have the rear grip that I needed to make a move on Jonathan. He was riding strong and I congratulate him on a great ride and win."

Overturning a deficit that stood at 88 points just five rounds ago, Spies was thrilled to be the first American since Colin Edwards to lead the WSBK standings. However, the occasionally unpredictable nature of this year's title race is preventing him from getting too excited just yet.

"There were some pretty tough moments earlier in the season when I just couldn't seem to string together good races. I'm happy that my team has worked hard and helped me get back in a good position to fight for the championship.

"It's great to have the series lead, but as we've seen this championship has a lot of ups and downs so I'm not taking anything for granted. It's way too early to think about anything but doing what we've been doing all season. I'm going to the next round in Imola with the goal of winning."


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