MONTEREY, CA, JULY 18: Ben Spies had a rough first day of practice for Sunday’s Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix. The reigning AMA Superbike champion crashed the Rizla Suzuki in the transition out of turn two in the morning session. Though he was unhurt, it dented his confidence on at track where he hoped to do well in front of the home fans. Spies finished the day with the 11th fastest time, a lap of 1:23.244 minutes, well within striking distance of the top five. By comparison, he qualified his Superbike at 1:24.547 earlier in the day. Spies said he was “having a couple little bitty issues with the bikes and it was just hurting my confidence a little bit. And I unfortunately lost the front on it a little bit. I mean, I know why we crashed.” He said, “I went for the brakes once and wasn’t too happy with them and went again and by the time I went again, I was in there too hot and maybe panicked a little bit and snatched them and that’s just what it was. No big deal. Luckily, it didn’t really mess the bike up too bad. They didn’t have to rebuild another one. “I’m a little stiff, but no injuries, none at all. Nothing that’s going to affect me on the bike. I might be a little stiff in the morning, but that’s just how it goes. “As far as putting my head down, it might not change anything, everybody might step up again, but we’re going to definitely pick it up a little bit more tomorrow. These boys are fast. I think a lot of people underestimate it and I never have.” In the afternoon, Spies just went out this “and slowly built up and slowly built up and it kept getting better and better. And I just didn’t want to do anything stupid after throwing it away this morning. And then mixed in with the Superbike, riding it afterwards, and then jumping back on that, it was a little bit…I think it’s good. Realistically, we were .3 out of the top five. On the chart, we’re not looking that great, but we’re right there with times, and so I’m pretty happy with that. And then we’ll pick it up just a little bit with the bike and try to get the bike working a little bit better for me.” What he needs the GSV-R to do is “turn a little bit different in some of the corners. It’s good in some parts and then I want it to be better in some corners, but that’s easily fixed; it’s just getting to fix it for the race in time. So we’re going to mess with that and we’ve got some ideas with that and then charge it, start throwing down and then riding really hard tomorrow. I’m riding hard, but definitely not riding…when I jump on a Superbike and you’re hanging it out all the time. I’m still not comfortable doing that yet. So we’ll hopefully pick it up a little bit more tomorrow.”
Spies on Practice
Henny Ray Abrams | Contributing Editor
Abrams is the longest-serving contributor at Cycle News. Over the course of his 35-some years of writing and shooting photos, he’s covered events from MotoGP to the Motocross World Championship - and everything in between.