5TH ROUND SBK – ITALY
Fate hits the leaders at Monza
Sunday at Monza, Spies should have won both races while Haga and Neukirchner could have accompanied him on both podiums. But the race wanted it differently! In Supersport, Yamaha, Kawasaki and Triumph still harass Honda…
First Superbike race
Neukirchner takes the best start but he mowed down in the "snitch" of the first chicane by Brendan Roberts, who has just made a long slide on the grass, triggered by a touch with Makoto Tamada – also fallen – during the first braking !
Simultaneously, we see Tommy Hill’s Honda perform an impressive front somersault and land heavily on an unfortunate Troy Corser already on the ground….
"I was about to enter the chicane and the next moment I was flying through the air", the BMW driver n ° 11 will relate a little later."While on my knees, I was struck by another motorcycle. She hit me in the back, near the neck, and the impact was strong enough to press my helmet against the ground".
"I managed to get off the track and collapsed on the grass to rest and catch my breath", continues the Australian,"but the commissioners were keen to get me out and tried to put me on a stretcher"… Without great care, even professionalism reproaches Troy:"I was lucky not to have damaged my neck, because they would probably have made my injury worse".
Brendan Roberts and Max Neukirchner on the other hand do not get up, both victims of injuries: big bruises for the Australian, breakage of the femur and three other bones of the leg and the foot for the German … As for Makoto Tamada, it’s one of her wrists that is broken and will prevent her from restarting.
Troy Corser decides to line up for the second start. Unfortunately, the old Croco suffered another fall at the end of the warm-up lap: "I found myself a little too quickly in the parabolic in the middle of a group of four or five pilots", explained Corser who, to avoid Hill, must lick the front brake, go low side and bounce back in the gravel. If it is too much, the n ° 11 will not go out for the weekend. !
Almost an hour after this "carnage" – that is the term Leon Haslam will use! -, a second start is given. Very quickly, Spies, Fabrizio and Haga drop Kagayama and isolate themselves to share the podium.
Behind, Biaggi rides alone in 5th position on the handlebars of his Aprilia, followed by Laconi and his Ducati, Parkes and his Kawa ‘and Sykes and his Yam’. Further still, Xaus on his BMW fights against the Honda of Rea, Checa and Haslam.
The controls of the race went from gloves to gloves: Fabrizio, Haga then Spies took turns in the lead and it was only from the 8th lap that the American managed to break away – slightly, not more than a second. .. – of his two friends.
Meanwhile, Kiyonari must whip to make up for his poor start: the Japanese was in 16th place at the end of the first lap but climbed to 8th place shortly before the halfway point. !
His compatriot Kagayama had to cede his 4th place to Biaggi but also showed great tenacity by remaining clinging to the backsplash of the Roman Emperor until the last laps … "I had problems with Biaggi because although I managed to catch up with him under braking, his bike accelerated harder than mine when exiting a corner.", will admit the pilot Suz ‘.
The last laps were very lively at the head of the race: while there were six laps to go, the two Ducatis came back under the Yamaha and three laps later, Fabrizio went on the attack! "Halfway through the race I had limp problems, especially when Ben passed in front of me, but I didn’t give up and I fought to the end", will testify the rital.
Michel passes Ben in the straight line and greets him with a small wave of the hand: the audience acclaims as it should be the Italian and his Italian … but also the Japanese and his Italian, because Nitro Nori puts the Yamaha rider under pressure !
However, at the cost of powerful braking "à la Rossi" – leg dangling towards the inside of the turn, not very aesthetic but effective! -, Ben Spies recovers his du and lets the two red balls explain themselves. This explanation leaves the field open to Spies and leads Fabrizio and Haga to negotiate Serraglio’s break neck to neck in the very last loop. !
The last bend also offers its share of emotion: while we wonder who of the n ° 41 or 84 will support Spies on the podium, it runs out of fuel! At the moment of opening wide to propel himself towards a 5th victory this season, the Yamaha rider stands up on his machine and continues in freewheel !
Fabrizio therefore inherits the victory: well deserved, it is his first in the SBK World Cup, which explains his joy when crossing the finish line, just ahead of Haga. !
Ben Spies meanwhile saw fourteen drivers tumble down the straight before passing in his turn, under the checkered flag … "It was a hard pill to swallow but I guess it’s racing", commented Ben briefly before refocusing – and stuffing his R1 with gasoline! – for the second round.
The twists and turns continue well after that as Max Biaggi learns, in the parc fermé, that he is receiving a 20-second penalty for having cut a chicane. Ryuichi Kiyonari is therefore rewarded for his incredible comeback with a third place, while Max is relegated to 11th position, behind Parkes !
"My start was very bad and I had to fight lap after lap during the whole race", said Kiyonari, delighted – and surprised – to get a first podium this season:"in the last lap i was fighting for 5th place, then at the end of the race i was 4th and when i got back to the pits my team told me i was third".
Also satisfied, Ruben Xaus brings BMW Motorrad his best result of the season: "my 7th place is also for Troy and the whole team because everyone worked hard for it".
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