For Spies, this was a nerve-wracking year, for the new Yamaha YZF-R1 with its crossplane crankshaft had numerous small failures and even ran out of gas once. But with his customary ability to concentrate on the race at hand rather than on matters beyond his control, Spies made hay every time fortune's sun shone. His powerful rival was Noriyuki Haga on a factory Ducati 1198. Haga at one time was fast but erratic, telling the public once that beer was his training regimen. But in recent years, he has become quieter and more focused, evidenced by the way he darted through any gap in Spies' performance this season. Adding to the drama was the depth of the Superbike field, which included Jonathan Rea on a Honda, Max Biaggi on the newAprilia RSV4and Michel Fabrizio on the other factory Ducati.