Ben Spies SuperBike Champion

26th October, 2009

SPIES WINS WORLD SUPERBIKE CHAMPIONSHIP

10/26/2009

PORTIMAO, Portugal (Oct. 25, 2009) – American Ben Spies was crowned World Superbike Champion Sunday at the Algarve Circuit in Portugal. Spies won the first race on his Yamaha R1 and took a conservative fifth-place finish in the second. It was a remarkable end to the season for the 25-year-old rider from Dallas, a three-time AMA Superbike Champion and rookie in World Superbike.

Spies was 10 points behind Japanese rider Noriyuki Haga coming into the final two races in Portugal. Spies took victory in the first leg, while Haga crashed his Ducati on lap seven.

"It was actually a really tough race,” Spies said of race one. “At first I was just going for the win, getting to the front and not worrying about anything. Then when Haga was out I had to win to get as many points as possible for race two. Once you have a gap, you don't want to be stupid and throw it all away."

Haga scoring no points gave Spies a 15-point lead going into the final race of the year. In the second race Spies ran as high as second early, before gradually dropping back to a safe position at the tail end the leading group of six riders. Italian Michel Fabrizio took the win in the second race, followed by Haga and Jonathan Rea of Great Britain. Spies passed Max Biaggi in the closing laps and cruised home to fifth. That finish was good enough to secure the championship for Spies by six points (462-456) over Haga.

"First I've got to thank Yamaha for giving me everything I needed to win. It was really good, we did what we had to do and it was difficult to do that because the pace was quite fast and I saw that there were a couple of people behind me. I knew that if Nori won I had to be sixth, so I tried to stay out of trouble. It was spectacular; I can't thank Yamaha enough and everyone who's been behind me for my first year here. It'll sink in in the next couple of days!"

This weekend concluded one of the greatest individual seasons in series' history. Spies won the title with 14 race wins in 28 starts and a record-breaking 11 pole positions. In a single season of racing Spies is tied for 12th on the all-time World Superbike career wins list.

Spies becomes the first American rider since fellow Texan Colin Edwards in 2002 to win the World Superbike title. Edwards and Spies will be teammates on the Tech 3 Yamaha MotoGP squad in 2010. Spies will race as a wildcard entry in the year-ending MotoGP event in Valencia on November 8.

It was an outstanding weekend for Yamaha having secured the MotoGP, World Superbike and World Supersport titles on the same day. Spies' win gives Yamaha its first title in World Superbike.

In the U.S. both legs of World Superbike from Portimao will be shown back to back today (Sunday, Oct. 25) starting at 3:00 pm Eastern on SPEED.

Ben Spies is sponsored by Yamaha, HJC, Alpinestars, Specialized and Parts Europe. 

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