Ben Spies bounced back from his opening-race agony of running out of fuel when leading on the last lap to claim victory in the second race of the FIM Superbike World Championship meeting here yesterday.
The American led from start to finish to cross the line 2.665 seconds ahead of Michel Fabrizio, winner of the first race, with Ryuichi Kiyonari coming home third. The victory was even sweeter for Spies as the championship leader Noriyuki Haga crashed out at the end of the third lap, meaning his advantage at the top of the standings was cut to 54 points. Britain's Jonathan Rea finished in fourth ahead of Max Biaggi, while two more British riders, Tom Sykes and Leon Haslam, completed the top seven.
There had, though, been disappointment for Spies in the opening race of the day as he ran out of fuel just metres from the line when he looked certain victory, allowing Fabrizio to come through to claim his first win.
Haga finished second and Kiyonari third, while Spies eventually had to settle for 15th. "That was a tough pill to swallow," Spies said. "You can only carry so much fuel, and this is a long track and we run at full throttle so much that unfortunately we ran out at the end."
The American revealed that he had approached the second race differently to ensure he did not run into similar problems. "I definitely rode the warm-up laps differently and short-shifted the bike late in the race to make sure I could make it to the finish," Spies added.
"The bike could have run faster the entire race, but I wanted to make sure we brought it home. The Yamaha guys regrouped after race one, figured things out and it was great to end the weekend on a high note."
Result: First race: 1 M Fabrizio (It) Ducati 31min 50.758sec; 2 N Haga (Japan) Ducati 31:50.997; 3 R Kiyonari (Japan) Honda 31:58.933; 4 Y Kagayama (Japan) Suzuki 32:01.759; 5 J Rea (GB) Honda 32:03.205; 6 T Sykes (GB) Yamaha 32:04.451; 7 R Xaus (Sp) BMW 32:09.930; 8 R Laconi (Fr) Ducati 32:15.747.
Second race: 1 B Spies (US) Yamaha 31min 49.252sec; 2 Fabrizio 31:51.917; 3 Kiyonari 31:52.062; 4 Rea 31:56.958; 5 M Biaggi (It) Aprilia 31:57.115; 6 Sykes 31:59.635; 7 L Haslam (GB) Honda 32:00.838; 8 J Smrz (Cz Rep) Ducati 32:10.364.
Leading championship riders standings: 1 Haga 200pts; 2 Spies 146; 3 Fabrizio 125; 4 Haslam 103; 5 Sykes 90; 6 Biaggi 81; 7= Laconi 77; 7= Rea 77. Manufacturers standings: 1 Ducati 225pts; 2 Yamaha 180; 3 Honda 141; 4 Suzuki 89; 5 Aprilia 84; 6 BMW 59; 7 Kawasaki 19.