Noriyuki Haga's hopes of winning the 2009 World Superbike Championship have been dealt a major blow after he retired from the opening race of the day at Portimao.

The Japanese rider was working his way up the order, but crashed out of contention on lap seven as he was beginning to catch Sterilgarda Ducati of Shane Byrne in fourth position.

Ben Spies, meanwhile, has led from the start, meaning he will go into the final race of the year with a 15 point advantage over Haga should he hold the position.

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