Superbike World Championship
Noriyuki Haga crashed in the first race at Portimao on Sunday to place second in Championship points for the third time in his Superbike career and made way for a new champion. Yamaha Italia driver Ben Spies has become the first American to win the Superbike World Championship since Colin Edwards did it back in 2002. Spies won the first race in Portugal this weekend and placed a safe fifth in the second race to secure this year’s title.
This is the 25 year old’s first year in the Superbike World Championship and by all accounts it has been an overwhelming success. Spies has been riding motorcycles since the age of 5, but professionally from the age of 8 starting with the Central Motorcycle Roadracing Association in Texas in 1993. Yamaha recently confirmed that he would be riding for them in 2010 MotoGP Championship – the highest level of professional Motorcycle racing.
This season ended disappointingly for Haga however, who had hoped to finally win a World Superbike Championship after placing in the top 5 consecutively since 2000. He left the team that Spies joined this season to race for Ducati Xerox and it seems to have paid off. His points total this year was the highest of his career and he won 8 races, another personal record. Hopefully next year Haga’s success with Ducati continues and without Spies to worry about, it could be his year.