Ben Spies has taken victory in the second World Superbike race of the season at Phillip Island after resisting the attentions of a charging Noriyuki Haga.
Going a long way to making up for his disastrous opening race, victory from pole position seals an otherwise magnificent maiden weekend in World Superbikes for the three-time AMA champion.
Spies' win was notable for the way in which he soaked up pressure from Haga throughout the race, the two possible title rivals indulging in some close, but clean, racing as they swapped the lead on several occasions over the course of the race.
The initiative initially seemed to be with Haga after the Japanese rider repeated his outstanding start from 13th on the grid to end the first lap in fifth place, before disposing of three more rivals for second by lap four.
From here, Haga immediately set his sights on Spies, who had led the way from turn two after being out-dragged by Max Biaggi
down to the first corner.
Haga didn't take long to resume his place at the head of the field, passing Spies on the run down to turn one at the start of lap five. However, despite his rapid ascension up the order, neither Spies nor Biaggi were allowing him to get away. Indeed, the Italian rider was putting in a fine showing on the new Aprilia RSV-4, going with the leaders as they made a break away from those directly behind.
With the Ducati and Yamaha bikes seemingly favouring different parts of the circuit, the gap between Haga and Spies swung continuously before Spies finally grabbed back the lead on lap 11. Even so, it was only good enough for two laps when a slight error at MG allowed Haga back through.
Haga even managed to break away from Spies briefly, but seemed to be feeling the affects of tyre wear in the final laps, thus allowing his rival back into contention. It meant Haga barely posed a threat when Spies attempted a move at the start of lap 18.
Having nursed his tyres better, Spies gradually broke the tow of Haga to come home in front by a comfortable margin in the end, much to the delight of his Yamaha team and his family.