Spies Near The Top

Cycle News Staff | November 10, 2009

In what may be the understatement of the year, Ben Spies said he had “a good day today” in the second and final day of MotoGP testing at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit in Valencia, Spain. Spies’ day was much better than good as he put himself up among the elite of the MotoGP men by turning in the fourth fastest time and going quicker than Valencia MotoGP race winner Dani Pedrosa in today’s test.Spies lapped at 1:32.942 today as he continues to take chunks of time out of his laps with each new day on the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha M1. Yesterday the Texan lapped at 1:33.496 and today off came another half a second as he dipped into the 32s for the first time.”We made more improvements today, but unfortunately Colin [Edwards] got sick so I had to kind of pick up a little bit of the testing stuff that he was going to do,” Spies said via telephone today from Spain. “We got through that and then improved my lap time. We went out and got 10 or 11 hard laps already on the tire and I was able to improve my qualifying time over half a second and got into the 32s, which was good. I ended the day on a high note and moved up a couple of positions. It was a good day.”We ended up fourth today. It was good. It was a newer tire, but I think it was pretty much what we raced on, but a newer generation. I know I could have done that on any of the other tires – it was just me really. Just trying to roll faster through the turns and things like that. Again, we haven’t changed anything on the bike it’s just me trying to slowly pick it up.”One of the things Spies has been working on is a slight change to his style. What works on the World Superbike R1 doesn’t necessarily work on the M1.”I’ve been trying to be more forward on the bike and not upset the bike as much because, obviously, I have a pretty aggressive style and these bikes you want to keep them in line as much as possible and not upset them and that’s what we tried to do today – really focus on keeping the bike steady and not moving and exerting,” Spies said. “You can also do it without using as much energy – you can still go fast without putting as much input into it. That’s what we did today and we knocked another half a second off our fastest lap time. Every day we’ve been knocking off chunks of lap time, so it was a good day.”Fiat Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo led today’s session with a blistering 1:31.939 to best yesterday’s leader Casey Stoner. Stoner lapped at 1:32.195 – a half a second faster than what he did yesterday – but still saw Lorenzo in front of him.”I am happy that we are so competitive here with this new version of the bike,” Lorenzo said. “I was able to do some very fast laps and it feels good to be the fastest on the last day of the season. There is a long time now until the next text and it is good for me mentally to know that I was fast today. We have worked on some electronics and the suspension, and we have compared the new chassis to the old one and taken a lot of important information for our engineers. I am so happy about my season; I’ve won three races, taken many podiums and finished second in the championship. I think this is a great achievement by us and now I would like to wish everyone a good holiday to recover so we all come back in February at the maximum ready to work again!”World Champion Valentino Rossi was next with a 1:32.528 – a slight improvement over what he’d done yesterday. And then came Spies, the Texan just nipping fellow American Nicky Hayden as the 2006 World Champion continues to improve on the Marlboro Ducati. Hayden also got into the 32s for the first time, with a best of 1:32.981.

Sunday’s MotoGP winner Dani Pedrosa ended today in sixth with his 1:33.025 – a quicker lap that what put him fourth after yesterday’s first day of testing.Randy de Puniet, Mika Kallio, Loris Capirossi and Marco Melandri rounded out the top 10 today.

Test Day 2

1.                  Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 1:31.939

2.                  Casey Stoner (Ducati) 1:32.195

3.                  Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 1:32.528

4.                  Ben Spies (Yamaha) 1:32.942

5.                  Nicky Hayden (Ducati) 1:32.981

6.                  Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 1:33.025

7.                  Randy de Puniet (Honda) 1:33.111

8.                  Mika Kallio (Ducati) 1:33.125

9.                  Loris Capirossi (Suzuki) 1:33.211

10.                  Marco Melandri (Honda) 1:33.326

11.                  Aleix Espargaro (Ducati) 1:33.345

12.                  Andrea Dovizioso (Honda) 1:33.546

13.                  Hector Barbera (Honda) 1:34.206

14.                  Marco Simoncelli (Honda) 1:34.230

15.                  Alvaro Bautista (Suzuki) 1:34.540

16.                  Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda) 1:35.261