27 September 2009
Haga hits back with Imola victory
As it happens, the actual defining pass on lap 18 was somewhat anti-climatic, Biaggi's bike getting skittish over the crest out of Aqua Minerale and allowing Haga a run at him into the Variante Alta. Despite Biaggi's speed, Haga was past before reaching the bend.
With clear air in front and only three laps remaining, Haga began to put the hammer down, quickly pulling a margin over Biaggi, who in turn was being pushed hard by Fabrizio again.
Overcoming his less than perfect bike and physical condition, Fabrizio was through with just over a lap to go when he got a better run out of the final chicane. Spies attempted to follow, but Biaggi had him covered.
Haga, however, was cruising to victory, easing across the line to give himself a significant psychological boost and Ducati a much needed victory on home soil.
Hopes of a 1-2 though were dashed at the final bend when Biaggi fought back and dived up the inside of Fabrizio to scrape through and then hold on to the spot by just a hundredth of a second. Spies, meanwhile, would back off to finish in fourth, five seconds behind Haga.
While the drama out front attracted much of the attention, there remained some very notable performances in the battle for best of the rest status. Fifth would eventually fall to Kiyonari, who battled his way up from 14th on the grid for his best result since Miller Motorsports Park.
He scored an important small win over Honda counterpart Haslam too after pulling off an identical move to Biaggi by grabbing the position at the very final corner.
Despite the less than favourable conclusion to the race, Haslam was a solid sixth having started in tenth on the sole Stiggy Honda, although he falls even further back from the fight for fourth overall.
Having been in the barriers on lap three, Rea put on an outstanding recovery ride to finish in seventh place and keep his points ticking over. Capitalising on a tight mid-pack, Rea overturned a sizeable deficit at the back of the field to lap on the lead pace and force his way forward and score a useful nine points.
Despite starting fifth, Jakub Smrz couldn't maintain his form through to the race, settling for eighth position at the finish ahead of Tom Sykes and Broc Parkes, the Australian reaching the top ten for the first time since Monza.
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