Spies wins with last lap charge
BEN Spies made a banzai last lap comeback to take the win in the first World Superbike race at Assen.
The AMA star, who had started the 22-Lap race from pole, made a daredevil final lap charge to inch Noriyuki Haga down to second just three turns away from the chequered flag.
Haga crossed the line second, ahead of a delighted Leon Haslam, with fellow Brit Tom Sykes fourth.
Spies' win hadn't looked likely for much of the race. Although the rookie had been away first at the green light, a charging Haga always looked ready to steal the spot, especially after the departure of Max Neukirchner who crashed out on Lap Five.
Haga made the much anticipated move on Lap 13, and a stalking Leon Haslam was able to capitalise on the moment, shoving his Stiggy Racing Honda past the Yamaha of Spies.
Haslam continued to chase down Haga for several laps, and although he got close to the Japanese hotshot, he was never able to make the pass, and soon found himself under pressure from Spies, who had found a second win.
With just two laps to go, Spies made the dart on Haslam, and as the pair ducked in and out of each other practically knocking knees, it was Spies who was to emerge ahead as the field came around to start the final lap.
Spies continued his battle, closing up on Haga and slipping through as the lap drew to a close. With no place left to overtake, Haga had to settle for second as a clearly relieved Spies took the win.
"I didn't know where to pass," Spies admitted. "I tried to get him in the hairpin where he'd got me earlier but I couldn't. Then he lost some time in the fifth gear corner, and I was close and I snuck up and made it through.
"It was close, and I can't make this happen every day so I have to take these things when they come."
Haga meanwhile had mixed feelings about his race. "I'm a little bit disappointed but we did a great, great race. I still have problems with the bike and after the start I found it hard to catch up.
"When I was leading I tried to push as much as I could but I couldn't hold him, and he got past. I did my best and we need to change something on the bike for the next race."
And a thrilled Haslam was all smiles. "I feel really good, the race pace was good. I was sitting behind Nori losing a lot of time out of the hairpin, when next thing Spies came past with a big elbow session.
"It was by far my best battling race, to be up there with those two guys. They rode an awesome race and to get this result, I'm over the moon,"
WSB Race One result:
1 19 Spies B. (USA) Yamaha YZF R1 36'31.338 (164,628 kph)
2 41 Haga N. (JPN) Ducati 1098R 0.154
3 91 Haslam L. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 0.779
4 66 Sykes T. (GBR) Yamaha YZF R1 8.775
5 3 Biaggi M. (ITA) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 11.275
6 96 Smrz J. (CZE) Ducati 1098R 16.126
7 65 Rea J. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 19.555
8 55 Laconi R. (FRA) Ducati 1098R 19.760
9 84 Fabrizio M. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 23.006
10 11 Corser T. (AUS) BMW S1000 RR 24.285
11 67 Byrne S. (GBR) Ducati 1098R 26.003
12 31 Muggeridge K. (AUS) Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K9 27.814
13 76 Neukirchner M. (GER) Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K9 36.962
14 111 Xaus R. (ESP) BMW S1000 RR 39.025
15 9 Kiyonari R. (JPN) Honda CBR1000RR 41.505
16 24 Roberts B. (AUS) Ducati 1098R 41.810
17 100 Tamada M. (JPN) Kawasaki ZX 10R 50.186
18 32 Easton S. (GBR) Kawasaki ZX 10R 55.567
19 94 Checa D. (ESP) Yamaha YZF R1 56.425
20 25 Salom D. (ESP) Kawasaki ZX 10R 1'05.169
21 88 Resch R. (AUT) Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K9 1'37.663
RET 99 Scassa L. (ITA) Kawasaki ZX 10R
RET 56 Nakano S. (JPN) Aprilia RSV4 Factory
RET 77 Iannuzzo V. (ITA) Honda CBR1000RR
RET 15 Baiocco M. (ITA) Kawasaki ZX 10R
RET 7 Checa C. (ESP) Honda CBR1000RR
RET 71 Kagayama Y. (JPN) Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K9
RET 33 Hill T. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR