Spies, Edwards Like the New Track

Cycle News Staff | September 17, 2010

Monster Yamaha Tech 3 teammates Ben Spies and Colin Edwards both expressed admiration for the Motorland Aragon circuit, even though neither was at his best on the first day of practice.In the dry morning session, Edwards finished ninth, one better than Spies, but when the rain came in the afternoon their positions reversed. Spies moved up to eighth and Edwards dropped down to 11th.Still, the weather didn’t dampen their enthusiasm for the 3.155-mile circuit, which is holding its first ever MotoGP race as the replacement for the canceled Hungarian Grand Prix.”I love the circuit,” Edwards said. “I’m not sure what I expected, but I hoped somebody would have designed something good and that’s obviously what happened. It is a lot of fun to ride and there are a few points that remind me of other tracks. I guess it feels quite similar to Sepang but there’s the reverse Corkscrew, which is pretty cool. Some of the fast corners are a bit like Mugello and overall it is a cool track. It’s not really demanding and it really flows and there are no real slow parts.”The important thing is the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YZR-M1 likes the track too. The bike felt good this morning in the dry and it was turning awesome. There’s not a lot of tight and twisty stuff but when I need that turning, the bike is delivering. And I felt good in the rain this afternoon too. It felt like a long time since we’ve hammered it in the wet but the grip for a new track is really good. I can’t complain about that because sometimes on a new track you get a bit of dirt and dust coming out on top of the surface, but it felt great.”The Aragon weekend marked the return to a four session start to the weekend. Rather than a single one hour Friday practice, the MotoGP riders enjoyed two 45-minute sessions, one in the morning, one in the afternoon. The morning session was dry, the afternoon wet. Either way, Edwards was happy for both. Had they not had the morning session, their only experience would’ve been on a wet track.”I’m happy also to go back to Friday morning practice,” he said. “I like that format better even if we aren’t getting any extra track time. You can make bigger changes between sessions and it saves on hanging around with nothing to do until the afternoon.”The track was designed by Herman Tilke, the preferred architect of Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone. Tilke has designed a number of tracks, including Sepang and Istanbul Park, which is no longer on the calendar. He’s also designing the new Formula One track in Austin, Texas.”I really like the track,” Spies said. “It has got some good elevation changes that make it pretty cool and the first couple of corners remind me of Istanbul Park on the video game. You know it is a fun track when you want to stay out and ride and that’s how I felt today.

“I was pleased with progress in the dry this morning and I’m really happy with how it went in the rain. I just stayed out to get a feeling for the bike in the wet conditions. In Germany earlier in the season I did about three laps in the wet and that’s all my MotoGP experience in the wet since Indianapolis in 2008. It was a bit of an eye opener and it took me a while to get up to speed. But once I got comfortable I felt good. And if we do have to ride in the rain now I’m confident that we’re not miles off. The limits are super high in the rain and my lap times were coming down all session, so now I’ve got my head wrapped around what this bike and tires can do in the wet, hopefully we can step up again next time.”