World Superbike Phillip Island 2009

Image The first round of the World Superbikes at Phillip Island 2009.


World Superbike Championship 2009 Round One

The 2009 World Superbike Championship season got underway at Phillip Island March 2nd 2009.

Newly signed Ducati rider Nori Haga was under a lot of self acknowlededged pressure to perform, as he tries to fill the biggest boots of all, recently retired multi time champion Troy Bayliss. Haga himself admitted, "if the Ducati isnt winning, it’s the rider." Another rider with the pressure of expectation was 3 time AMA Superbike champ Ben Spies, the Texan making the switch to Yamaha for the world series. He soon proved the expectation was justified, and stamped his mark by putting the new "big bang" Yamaha R1 on pole.

Veteran ex MotoGP rider Max Biaggi justified his pay cheque by getting the brand new Aprilia RSV4 into second position in the Superpole. Haga meanwhile was floundering in 13th, with Troy Corser a disastrous 17th after a wrong tyre choice.


Superbike Race One

Race one was declared a wet race, but all riders started on slicks. Turn two saw Ben Spies off the track, who would end up finishing his first WSBK race in 16th position. Up front however, it was German Max Neukirchner on his Suzuki Alstare machine battling it out with Haga on the Ducati. The race wasnt decided until the last lap, when a mistake by Neukirchner saw Nitro Nori take the lead, and the win on the 1098R Ducati. Neukirchner held on for 2nd ahead of fellow Suzuki rider Yukio Kagayama, with Ducati rider Fabrizio in 4th. Troy Corser finished an excellent 8th on the brand new BMW S1000 RR in its race debut. Biaggi was 11th on the RSVR4 Aprilia.


Rider Quotes Race One:

Noriyuki Haga (Ducati Xerox): "One thing that I have is great experience because in 2005 I was in 16th and won a race, so now everybody knows it doesn’t matter where the start position is, we don’t need qualifying! I’m very happy for the win, I have just switched to Ducati, I already had four crashes with the bike, but our team did a great job. In the last two laps it started to rain a bit then on the last lap Max passed me but I put big pressure on him thinking where to pass him. He made a mistake and I won."

Max Neukirchner (Suzuki Alstare): "On the last lap I made a little mistake and that probably cost me the win. The last five laps Nori was in front and I could see that he had a bit better traction on the last corner but I caught him on the last lap and I said ‘I win, I win’ but it was too much and I had a small slide and that was it."

Yukio Kagayama (Suzuki Alstare): "I’m happy to get the podium, my last one was in 2007! Both for Max and me our starting positions were not so good, and too many riders caught me in the early laps. But I did a steady ride to third."


Results Race One

1   41 Haga N. (JPN) Ducati 1098R 34’22.631 (170,677 kph) 
2   76 Neukirchner M. (GER) Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K9 0.032 
3   71 Kagayama Y. (JPN) Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K9 5.347 
4   84 Fabrizio M. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 6.587 
5   65 Rea J. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 8.491 
6   91 Haslam L. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 8.523 
7   55 Laconi R. (FRA) Ducati 1098 RS 09 8.766 
8   11 Corser T. (AUS) BMW S1000 RR 11.589 
9   96 Smrz J. (CZE) Ducati 1098R 11.721 
10  66 Sykes T. (GBR) Yamaha YZF R1 11.761 
11   3 Biaggi M. (ITA) Aprilia RSV4 12.609 
12   7 Checa C. (ESP) Honda CBR1000RR 19.096 
13  44 Rolfo R. (ITA) Honda CBR1000RR 24.149 
14  33 Hill T. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 27.416 
15  56 Nakano S. (JPN) Aprilia RSV4 28.173 
16  19 Spies B. (USA) Yamaha YZF R1 28.235 
17  24 Roberts B. (AUS) Ducati 1098R 37.348 
18  100 Tamada M. (JPN) Kawasaki ZX 10R 37.401 
19  111 Xaus R. (ESP) BMW S1000 RR 42.614 
20  99 Scassa L. (ITA) Kawasaki ZX 10R 1’03.794 
21  25 Salom D. (ESP) Kawasaki ZX 10R  
RET  15 Baiocco M. (ITA) Kawasaki ZX 10R  
RET  23 Parkes B. (AUS) Kawasaki ZX 10R  
RET  77 Iannuzzo V. (ITA) Honda CBR1000RR  
RET  67 Byrne S. (GBR) Ducati 1098R  
RET  31 Muggeridge K. (AUS) Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K9  
RET   9 Kiyonari R. (JPN) Honda CBR1000RR


Superbike Race Two

Race Two, and Ben Spies was not to be denied as he fought with Nori Haga for the win. After slugging it out for most of the race, the R1 pulled clear from the Ducati for a win, the Texan clearly ecstatic with his instant success on the world stage. Stiggy Honda’s Leon Haslam returned to world Superbike with a podium in 3rd, ahead of the Ducatis of Laconi and Fabrizio.

Max Biaggi dropped from his race long 3rd position on the last lap with a visit to the gravel trap, finishing 15th Neukirchner managed a 6th place with his K9 Suzuki. Corser battled tyre woes with the BMW to finish well down in 22nd. Haga leaves Australia with 45 points in his bag, ahead of Neukirchner on 30, Haslam 26, and Spies with 25 from his race win.


Rider Quotes Race Two

Ben Spies (Yamaha World Superbike): "The first race was not picture perfect for us. The second one was really tough, we had a couple of goes in the lead and tried to break but couldn’t do it so I sat and watched Nori. We were strong in the first half but really slow in the back two corners and I couldn’t stay with him, then when the tyres went off we just went to the front with four to go and I put my head down. WSB was rough but good in the end, the new R1 was great in the first weekend for the big-bang motor. It’s such a new machine for the team, hopefully we can get more out of it but for sure it’s a front-running bike. WSB is so tight, people don’t understand how many fast riders there are here, and it was really great out there today."

Noriyuki Haga (Ducati Xerox): "I did a nice start again and then during the race I really enjoyed fighting with Ben. It was hard to pull away from him but in the last five laps my tyres were finished and I couldn’t push anymore and I just kept the second position. I think this weekend we did a good job except for qualifying and now I’m in the lead of the championship."

Leon Haslam (Stiggy Racing Honda): "It’s a big credit to the team, three months ago they were just building the bike. It’s the first round and we’re already on the podium. There’s been a big effort and we’ve kind of repaid all that effort. There was a bit of argy-bargy with Fabrizio, I had a tyre mark from him from the first lap and later on in the race we had a bit of a tussle but that’s what World Superbike is all about, it’s a fantastic result."


Results Race Two

1 19 Spies B. (USA) Yamaha YZF R1 34’20.457 (170,857 kph)
2 41 Haga N. (JPN) Ducati 1098R 1.286
3 91 Haslam L. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 4.213
4 55 Laconi R. (FRA) Ducati 1098 RS 09 4.490
5 84 Fabrizio M. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 6.045
6 76 Neukirchner M. (GER) Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K9 9.947
7 96 Smrz J. (CZE) Ducati 1098R 10.174
8 71 Kagayama Y. (JPN) Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K9 12.100
9 65 Rea J. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 12.742
10 66 Sykes T. (GBR) Yamaha YZF R1 20.061
11 111 Xaus R. (ESP) BMW S1000 RR 24.854
12 56 Nakano S. (JPN) Aprilia RSV4 25.192
13 7 Checa C. (ESP) Honda CBR1000RR 27.162
14 33 Hill T. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 29.737
15 3 Biaggi M. (ITA) Aprilia RSV4 30.036
16 44 Rolfo R. (ITA) Honda CBR1000RR 38.458
17 100 Tamada M. (JPN) Kawasaki ZX 10R 44.453
18 23 Parkes B. (AUS) Kawasaki ZX 10R 45.486
19 24 Roberts B. (AUS) Ducati 1098R 46.198
20 99 Scassa L. (ITA) Kawasaki ZX 10R 57.921
21 31 Muggeridge K. (AUS) Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K9 57.989
22 11 Corser T. (AUS) BMW S1000 RR 1’00.093
23 9 Kiyonari R. (JPN) Honda CBR1000RR 1’07.820
24 15 Baiocco M. (ITA) Kawasaki ZX 10R 1’21.224
25 25 Salom D. (ESP) Kawasaki ZX 10R 1’21.276
RET 67 Byrne S. (GBR) Ducati 1098R
RET 77 Iannuzzo V. (ITA) Honda CBR1000RR

Points after Round One

Points (after  1 round of 14): 1. Haga (Ducati) 45; 2. Neukirchner (Suzuki) 30; 3. Haslam (Honda) 26; 4. Spies (Yamaha) 25; 5. Kagayama (Suzuki) 24; 6. Fabrizio (Ducati) 24; 7. Laconi (Ducati) 22; 8. Rea (Honda) 18; 9. Smrz (Ducati) 16; 10 Sykes (Yamaha) 12 etc. Manufacturers: 1. Ducati 45; 2. Yamaha 31; 3. Suzuki 30; 4. Honda 27; 5. Bmw 13; 6. Aprilia 9.



Supersport World Championship


Kenan Sofuoglu (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) won a superb opening World Supersport race in a three-way sprint to the line. The Turk, 2007 champion in the category, took the flag ahead of Australian riders Andrew Pitt (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) and Anthony West (Stiggy Racing Honda).

Honda, winners of the mid-range Supersport category for the last seven years, begin the new season with four CBR-RR machines in the top 4 places, with fourth going to Eugene Laverty (Parkalgar Honda) of Ireland. For 24 year-old Sofuoglu, the win is his eleventh in the series, while Honda celebrate their 63rd win out of 117 Supersport races. The Yamahas, which looked good in qualifying, finished fifth in the hands of Cal Crutchlow and seventh with Fabien Foret, who raced with a partially dislocated right shoulder following his crash on Saturday. Spain’s Joan Lascorz made his debut for Kawasaki with an encouraging seventh place.

The new Triumph 675 also had a positive start, with Gianluca Nannelli finishing tenth and Garry McCoy fourteenth.

Results: 1. Sofuoglu K. (TUR) Honda CBR600RR 33’42.156 (166,18 kph);  2. Pitt A. (AUS) Honda CBR600RR 0.060; 3. West A. (AUS) Honda CBR600RR 0.153; 4. Crutchlow C. (GBR)Yamaha YZF R6 1.097; 5 Laverty E. (IRL) Honda CBR600RR 1.098;  6. Aitchison M. (AUS) Honda CBR600RR 3.631; 7. Foret F. (FRA) Yamaha YZF R6 5.023; 8. Lascorz J. (ESP) Kawasaki ZX-6R 9.540.

Points (after  1 round of 14): 1. Sofuoglu (Honda) 25; 2. Pitt (Honda) 20; 3. West (Honda) 16; 4. Crutchlow (Yamaha) 13; 5. Laverty (Honda) 11; 6. Aitchison (Honda) 10; 7. Foret (Yamaha) 9; 8. Lascorz (Kawasaki) 8.


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