WSBK » 4 October 2009
Spies holds on to take back title lead
Ben Spies has inched back into the lead of the World Superbike Championship standings after recovering from a mistake on the final lap of the race to win at Magny-Cours.
Spies led from start to finish, but very nearly threw it away at the final time of asking when he ran wide at the 180 bend. However, while it would allow Haga into the lead very briefly, the American would calmly regain the position to win by just over a tenth of a second.
Haga had been on a charge in the latter stages after getting bottled up behind Max Biaggi for much of the race, the erstwhile championship leader's lap records not quite enough to snatch victory from his great rival. It means the pair have swapped positions again in the standings, with Spies two points up on Haga.
Starting from his tenth pole position of the season, Spies got away well to lead into the sweeping first turn right-hander, with Biaggi's quick getaway from fourth being hampered by a tighter line into the opening bend.
Haga, however, found himself shuffled down to sixth position through the opening bends, even if a bit of savvy team play by Ducati Xerox counterpart Michel Fabrizio would help him up to fourth position by the end of the first lap.
Promptly latching himself onto the lead group of Spies, Jonathan Rea – who passed Biaggi at the Adelaide hairpin – and Biaggi, Haga's hopes of being aided further by team-mate Fabrizio was being hampered by the Italian's difficulty in getting past Leon Haslam, the Briton delaying the Imola winner sufficiently enough to rule him out of race win contention.
Any slim hopes that Spies' Yamaha team-mate Tom Sykes could come into play were also ended on lap two when the Briton suffered an accident on the run down to Lycee. Sykes lost the front-end of his R1 at high-speed, sending his bike flipping down the track, just missing the Suzuki of Karl Muggeridge.
Back up front, Rea and Biaggi traded fastest laps as they attempted to get on terms with Spies, who in turn was maintaining the gap with a series of consistent times.
However, Rea's hopes of challenge Spies for victory were ended on lap seven when, after seemingly out-braking himself rather innocuously at Lycee, he simply chose to ride into the pit lane and retire.
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