ASSEN, HOLLAND, JUNE 25: Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Ben Spies qualified a career best fourth fastest and just off the front row for Saturday’s 80th Dutch TT in Assen.The Texan saved the best for last, dipping into the 1:34s for his final lap of the slightly altered 4.452 kms circuit in the north of Holland. Spies set out quickly on the lap, the timing screen showing red helmets signifying he was on pace for a record lap through the first two splits. But he wasn’t able to keep up his momentum and the final two splits weren’t as fast as he’d gone earlier.Still, he was as close as he’d been to the front and hopeful that he could translate it into a second podium to go with the first that he’d earned less than a week earlier in Silverstone.”It’s my best qualifying session and I’m really happy,” he said. “I wanted to get on the second row, but I was a little bit worried that I would be at the back of it and for the first corner here I wanted to be in a better position. I wasn’t sure how much I would get out of the soft tire, but as soon as we bolted it on I was faster.”Spies said the podium became a possibility because of the work the team had done on front end set-up and also because he didn’t need time to learn the track. The Texan won the first leg of last year’s World Superbike meeting from the pole position here last year.”I’m real happy,” Spies said. “It was good call with what we did with the bike. I wanted to get on the second row, but I was a little bit worried, but I thought would be on the tail end of it and for turn one I wanted to be in a better position so I tried for a faster lap. I spent most of the session on hard tires, but everyone is kind of 50/50 soft and hard tires and before the fastest laps started coming I knew that there wasn’t many people ahead of me and my pace was pretty good. I wasn’t sure how much I would get out of the soft tire, but as soon as we bolted it on it was faster.”His previous second-row start came as a wild card about the Rizla Suzuki at the inaugural Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix in 2008.”We’ve got good pace so we’ll look at the weather and comments but I think both tires will work. It will be a toss-up. We have got good pace on the hard and soft tire so we just need to see what Bridgestone’s opinion. The soft tire will be quicker in the beginning so we’ll see. It’s my best qualifying session and that was my goal this weekend, to get on the second row and now hopefully I can get a good start in the race .”
Spies a Career Best Fourth in Qualifying
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.