INDIANAPOLIS, IN, SEPT. 12 – Ben Spies is the only rider in the field who came into today’s opening practice with any laps at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on a MotoGP bike, the Texan having tested here with the team in July. So it was no surprise to see him near and at the top of the time sheets in the first 90-minute session, though he would ultimately drop to ninth when the session ended.
Spies, though, wasn’t taking any chances and there’s plenty left – even if the rain persists – the three-time AMA Superbike Champion said.
“We know the track, we know how the bike is in the rain and there’s no sense in doing anything silly in the first session,” Spies said straight after the first practice. “We definitely have quite a bit of time left. The bike feels good. It’s just me with the tires. This is just the second track that I’ve ridden the bike in the rain and it’s just so different from what I’ve ever ridden in the rain. It’s got a lot more feeling and a lot more grip and there’s a couple of inconsistent spots in the track where the bike moves around. On the solid, good pavement, I haven’t had a moment yet and that’s what I was telling the team. I’m just trying to slowly easy my way up with the lap times and we should be good come this afternoon.
“I wasn’t taking it to the limit yet. There’s no point in throwing a perfectly good motorcycle away on Friday morning. It looks like it could be raining the whole weekend, but you never know. We’ll try and get through the day and start getting with it tomorrow and we’ll keep looking at the forecast and seeing what goes down. Right now we’re just warming up and getting up to speed. The bike is working awesome. It;’s just me learing the tires more and trusting it.”
Although Spies had ridden here previously, he – like everyone else – were sampling it in the wet for the first time. And he was pleasantly surprised.
“It was actually better than I thought it would be,” Spies said. “There’s a few spots you can’t rush because if you do you’ll be on your head. The track is good and they did a good job. It’s definitely better than I thought it would be in the rain and that’s a plus.”