World Champion Ben Spies Will Present Superpole Awards at Misano

Texan known as “Elbowz” won the first of two World Superbike races eight years ago at the Italian racetrack

ben spies misano race action
Ben Spies at speed on his Yamaha YZF-R1 at Misano. Margin of victory over Ducati-mounted Shane Byrne was nearly eight seconds. Michel Fabrizio, on another 1098R, was third.Courtesy of Yamaha

American Ben Spies will attend Round 7 of the 2017 FIM Superbike World Championship this weekend at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli. The 32-year-old Dallas, Texas, resident is scheduled to hand out the Superpole awards on Saturday morning prior to the first of two premier-class races later that day.

Spies captured the World Superbike title in 2009 in his first and only attempt. At Misano, starting from the front row of the grid on a Yamaha YZF-R1, the three-time AMA Superbike champion won Race 1 and finished ninth in Race 2 with a smoked clutch. Current series points leader Jonathan Rea was first to the checkered flag on a Honda CBR1000RR.

ben spies talks with crew chief tom houseworth
Tom Houseworth (left) was Spies’ crew chief for many seasons, including his championship years in AMA Superbike and World Superbike, as well as MotoGP.Courtesy of Yamaha

Tom Sykes earned pole position for last year's World Superbike doubleheader at Misano. Spies and Sykes were teammates on factory Yamahas when Spies won the title. The following season, Spies moved to MotoGP, eventually contesting three more races at Misano, placing fifth twice and sixth in 2012, all aboard Yamaha YZR-M1s.

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Spies traveled to Italy with his wife and daughter for a friend's wedding. Upon arriving in the country last week, he visited the intersection where Nicky Hayden was fatally injured this past May when he collided with a car while training on his bicycle. Spies, who raced for years with Hayden and his brothers, Tommy and Roger, laid an American flag at the memorial.

With Hayden's passing, PJ Jacobsen is the lone American racing in the series. Riding an MV Agusta Reparto Corse 675, the 23-year-old New Yorker is currently fifth overall in World Supersport points standings. Jacobsen wore a replica of Hayden's Arai helmet three weeks ago in Round 6 of the championship at Donington Park in England.