Haga Clinches Double Winner in Valencia
Haga only needed 3 laps to pass leader Max Neukirchner and clinch an early lead during Race 1, which he didn't let go until the finish line. Moreover, Ducati managed their first 1-2 of the season in Valencia, as Michel Fabrizio got to the chequered flag in 2nd place. Neukirchner eventually had to settle for 3rd place, while followed by Regis Laconi and Leon Haslam.
Ben Spies, double winner two weeks ago in Qatar, fought hard for a place on the overall podium in Race 1, but eventually crashed out after a thrilling battle with Neukirchner. Nevertheless, the North American rider proved himself once again in Race 2, when he finished in the runner-up spot.
Haga went on to dominate the second race on Sunday in similar fashion, as Spies never posed a real threat for the No 1 spot at the finish line. However, the Yamaha rider did a good job preventing Ducati from scoring their second 1-2 in a row, while also keeping the point disadvantage to Haga in the overall classification to a minimum. Laconi was again held off to 4th overall, ahead of Haslam.
“We did a great job this weekend. I think one of the reasons is that after Qatar I did some ‘age training! But anyway today 50 points is a great advantage over Ben and I'm very happy with this double win,” said Haga after the race.
“I was trying as hard as we could in the first couple of laps, but had a couple of problems and didn't quite get rolling. By the time we got into second, I would have needed to be right on the back of Nori to stay with him because he was riding at a really good pace. I just didn't quite have those 3 or 4 tenths today so I will come back at Assen and try to step it up,” added Spies, following his performance in Race 2.
Thanks to his double win in Valencia, Haga is now 40 points clear of Spies in the overall classification, while Neukirchner is still in 3rd place.