Although Texan Ben Spies took over the lead in the World Superbike chase last weekend, the bigger news was that he’s signed a two-year deal with Yamaha to race both WSB and Moto GP.
The announcement said: “The program foresees a season in 2010 with the Yamaha World Superbike Team based in Gerno di Lesmo, Italy and a switch to Yamaha’s satellite MotoGP team for 2011”.
With that out of the way, Yamaha’s Spies went out and took first and second spots in the two races held at Germany’s famed Nurburgring. In the first race of the day, Spies duelled with veteran Noriyuki Haga, eventually taking a strong victory with nearly a four-second margin but still leaving Haga in the series lead.
Disaster struck the Japanese ace on the Xerox Ducati in the second contest, however, as HannSpree Ten Kate Honda rider Jonathon Rea came together with Haga causing him to crash out of the race, a disaster in points with only three events (six races) left in the schedule.
Rea went on to win the race ahead of Spies. Carlos Checa, also on a Ten Kate Honda, took third in both rounds. Michel Fabrizio, Haga’s team-mate and the only other rider in position to possibly take the title, had a lacklustre weekend with seventh and ninth-place results.
The new teams in the paddock were reasonably happy, with Max Biaggi taking his Aprilia to a fifth and fourth, while Troy Corser carded an eighth and a sixth.
The next race is at Imola in Italy, September 27.
The current top 10 are:
1. Ben Spies, U.S.A., Yamaha, 364 points;
2. Noriyuki Haga, Japan, Xerox Ducati, 346;
3. Michel Fabrizio, Italy, Xerox Ducati, 289;
4. Jonathon Rea, Ireland, HannSpree Ten Kate Honda, 224;
5. Max Biaggi, Italy, Aprilia, 224;
6. Leon Haslam, U.K., Stiggy Honda, 201;
7. Carlos Checa, Spain, HannSpree Ten Kate Honda, 177;
8. Tom Sykes, U.K., Yamaha, 165;
9= Shane Byrne, U.K., Sterilgarda Ducati, 99;
9= Jakub Smrz, Guandalini Racing Ducati, 99.