Noriyuki Haga (Ducati) has a slender 10 point lead over Ben Spies (Yamaha) as the WSB championship series comes to an end for 2009 at Portimao this weekend. A double win by Spies (even in Haga finishes second in both races) would give him the crown, so this is really a winner-take-all scenario.
Haga has plenty of wins in his WSB career (41) but no championship. Several years ago, his shot at the title was taken from him in a dispute over a supplement (which, in our opinion, was not performance enhancing) found in a blood test. Haga soldiered on, of course, and has had a tremendous career. He has beaten Spies lately, and has to be the favorite going into this weekend.
Spies, of course, has had a rookie series like no one before him. Despite the fact he had never seen many of the race tracks, Spies already has 13 race wins to his credit, and might have a healthy points lead but for several DNFs (some of which were not his fault). Should be an interesting weekend.
MD Readers Respond:
- Time to get psyched about the final race of the season. With Rossi clinching the title Sunday, I expect to see him go all out in the final race (he clearly and wisely held back Sunday.) Stoner is the strongest he’s been all year, and if Lorenzo can just avoid crashing, we should be in for a great final race of the year. Pedrosa and the Honda has been pretty good of late as well. It’s a shame the season has to end.
I’ll give Stoner credit. I’ve always thought the title he won two years ago was a bit tainted by the clearly superior Ducati he was riding that year. He was able to play it safe on the curves and then easily out run everyone on the straights. The Ducati he’s winning on right now is still fast, but the handling looks noticibly inferior to the Yamahas. It’s scary to watch the Ducati shake under acceleration and breaking. Stoner is showing he’s got a big “pair” the way he’s riding that beast lately.
The final race looks to be awesome. It’s a shame the season has to end with all of the bikes hitting their peaks right now.
Next year is something to look forward to, though, adding Spies to the factory Yamaha mix. Jones
- I know you only seem to have a begrudging regard for Rossi and a strong affinity or identification with Stoner. I will agree with you if you say that it is Stoner who is Rossi’s nemesis and not Lorenzo unless he can do better. After all, Jorge said it, Rossi was “faster and more clever etc..” Stoner being in shape is likely the fastest there is, but he has a lot to go to be champion 9 times and rise to being the sportsman that Rossi is ( check Rossi’s review of his victory on the MCN site) . And wait, Spies and Simoncelli are in the wings. Keep rooting for Stoner, he rides like a god, a frail unassuming, not too interesting one, but none the less the future of fast. Hugh