8TH ROUND SBK – SAINT-MARIN
Twists and turns of all kinds in Misano !
This 8th round of the SBK World Cup was marked by various incidents: rain in the first Superbike round, oil on the track in Supersport and a technical problem on a high-tech machine in the second Superbike round….
Second Superbike race
Just before the lights go out, the Ducati n ° 84 betrays a certain nervousness on the part of Fabrizio: the bike moves a few centimeters on its line, before setting off at the same time as the others … will he be penalized ?
Still, another Ducati is illustrated in this first stretch: that of Noriyuki Haga, who takes the lead in front of Spies, overtaken in the chicane by Rea. Then follow three Ducati: those of Smrz, Fabrizio and Byrne.
A few turns further, Spies descends from the virtual podium: he seems unable to compete against Smrz and must bow to Fabrizio who is climbing back up! And Spies‘ ordeal continues in the 2nd lap, since the American has to let Checa, Byrne, then a good part of the peloton pass. !
Up front, Haga sets his pace, followed closely by Rea, Fabrizio and Smrz, while Checa and Byrne try to keep in touch. Further, Sykes leads the second group ahead of Biaggi and Haslam.
In the 4th lap, Rea cut shorter in the break on the left and easily overtook Haga: the young Englishman then tried to give company to the three Ducatis behind him, now caught up by the Honda de Checa and a fourth Ducati, that of Byrne.
The next four turns see the chase group apply: Rea tries to outrun his pursuers but does not succeed! Fabrizio slips under Haga in the first chicane of the 5th lap, which seems to increase the pace of the race. The second group is led by Sykes and Haslam.
In the 8th lap, Jakub Smrz momentarily left the track and had to let the leading group slip away, which broke up because of the Czech’s small error: Rea, Fabrizio and Haga took to the chase while Checa took the lead. spits into the gloves to join them, leaving Byrne behind.
In the 10th lap, after several unsuccessful attempts, Noriyuki Haga manages to surprise his teammate in braking from a left. Would the Japanese end up enjoying the Misano track and could he finally get an excellent result? ?
Behind, the show is also at the rendezvous since Byrne and Smrz are joined by Haslam and Sykes: the three Englishmen and the Czech fight for 5th place, while Checa rides alone in 4th place.
Halfway through the race, Haga achieves the fastest lap in the race and never leaves Rea’s rear wheel while Fabrizio does everything possible to stay in touch! The three men have a big shot to play in the championship, as Ben Spies is in 15th place !
"I had a clutch problem at the start of the race", explained the American … Once the problem was eliminated, Ben embarked on a crazy recovery but his path was strewn with pitfalls:"when i found myself behind Corser, Kagayama and those guys it wasn’t easy to overtake them", admits n ° 19.
Troy Corser, in fact, has to fight with his Behem: "the bike seemed a bit indecisive, I was not fully confident when entering or exiting curves", testifies n ° 11:"I could have given up, but I continued because I know that each turn counts to gather information".
By dint of taking the shortest in the break – why do the others insist on taking wider? -, Fabrizio goes back to Haga and the double! The Italian even temporarily takes the lead, but Jonathan Rea takes control with authority.
In the small chicane at the start of the layout, Fabrizio’s Ducati plunges under Rea’s Honda. A few turns later, Haga tries to imitate his teammate but does not succeed. The Englishman does not give up, does not lose focus, but must finally let the Japanese driver pass in the same first chicane…
With 7 laps to go, the two Ducati Xeroxes are still in the lead, but the Honda Ten Kate gives them a hard time … Rea climbs back to 2nd place then teases Fabrizio, taking advantage of a faster bike in the fast sections. The battle between the n ° 84 and 65 allows the 41 to stay in contact, but it can not attempt anything !
While the two youngsters pass each other in front of Haga, Checa in 4th patient position: a mistake by one of the three leading drivers could push him up on the podium! But two seconds behind the Spaniard is a particularly recovered Smrz, which has just dispossessed Byrne of his 5th place !
In front, Fabrizio takes slightly defensive paths that allow Haga to put pressure on Rea. However, the Honda rider seems relatively comfortable and often manages to get out of the corners stronger. And two laps from the end, Noriyuki downright simplifies Johnny’s task by losing loses contact all at once…
On the last lap, Rea took advantage of the braking at the end of the straight line to pass Fabrizio and managed to keep his 1st place in the first chicane! The hardest part is undoubtedly done for Johnny…
Behind, Checa is joined by Smrz … The Czech rolls a tone above the Spaniard and steals his 4th place! "Considering the big changes made this weekend, I think we can be optimistic for Donington", observes the famous n ° 7.
Imperial, Jonathan Rea wins the first victory of his career in the World Superbike: "it’s really nice to win here in Italy, in the Ducati garden where we thought it would be hard enough"Says Johnny who hopes to run well at the forefront every weekend, starting with the next home in Donington Park. !
The two official Ducatis still score big points against Ben Spies: "I’m only a few points behind Ben so yeah I can’t help but think about the championship but to become a serious contender I know I have to stay consistent and pocket a few wins", admits Michel Fabrizio.
Satisfied with his results on a track that he appreciates only moderately, Noriyuki Haga even jokes: "I got off to a good start, but once Johnny and then Michel passed me, it became difficult to keep up their pace, maybe because they are much younger than me !
Ben Spies, he does not have the heart to laugh: "it’s frustrating, because we lost precious points this year, thanks to which we could lead the championship", calculates the Yamaha rider, impatient to do battle in England … To follow next Monday on Site !
Noriyuki Haga therefore remains at the top of the provisional standings with 292 points, but his lead over Ben Spies (244) drops by 5 points. Michel Fabrizio (237), strong of his two podiums, returns to seven lengths of the American and to 55 of his Japanese teammate.
Jonathan Rea (167) isolated himself in 4th place while Max Biaggi (135) and Leon Haslam (134) were joined by Tom Sykes (130). Finally, let us welcome the appearance of Matthieu Lagrive in this ranking: his 6 points scored in the 1st round allow him to appear in 24th place..
Among the manufacturers, Ducati (351 points) took advantage of its two second places to move away from Yamaha (285) and Honda (240) who scored as many points on Sunday. Aprilia is 4th with 142 points ahead of Suzuki (128), BMW (62) and Kawasaki (stuck at 41 points).
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