Spies Motors to Second Fastest in Morning Practice

Henny Ray Abrams | August 27, 2011

SPEEDWAY, IN, AUG 27 – Yamaha’s Ben Spies put his new engine to good use by setting the second fastest time in Saturday morning’s free practice session on a warm, sunny morning at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.Spies and teammate Lorenzo fitted the new motors to their Yamaha YZR-M1s this morning and the improvement was immediately noticeable. Spies went from being 16th fastest out of 17 on top speed to 11th fastest. His best overall trap speed was 316.4 kph, compared to 312.2 kph on Friday. And his average for his top five best speeds went from 311.9 kph to 315.5 kph.The Texan used the engine to drop under the existing lap record, set in qualifying two years ago. Spies lapped in 1:39.670, which was .132 of a seocnd off the 1:39.538 set by fast rider Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda). It was also faster than Dani Pedrosa’s outright fastest lap of 1:39.730 from last year’s Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix.

“No, it was good,” Spies said of the new engine. “We were definitely a little bit quicker, nothing huge but a couple k, mile an hour or two [the difference was 2.61 mph on his fastest speed]. Anything right now helps at this level. It’s definitely not going to be blowing past a lot of bikes, but hopefully it’ll keep us more in contention on the straights.”Though it showed up on the radar sheets, Spies said, “Really, I honestly don’t feel it. It’s just it shows up that it’s a couple k faster. I mean, when you’re dealing with plus-200 horsepower, when you add a couple horsepower, you’re not going to feel it, at least the rider’s not. It looks like to be on the data that it’s a bit quicker. For me and Jorge (Lorenzo) we don’t feel much of a difference.” Lorenzo went faster by 1.3 kph, but dropped from 13th to 14th fastest overall.The track, Spies said, “seems to have the same feeling as yesterday, just obviously the lap times are a bit faster. It seems more consistent. It seems like it could still get better. It’s a little bit of a vague feel because of the way that the pavement is. Yeah, it’s definitely heading in the right direction.”As is Spies, whose best weekend of the 2010 season came here at IMS. Spies earned his first ever pole position and finished second to Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa. This weekend he likes his chances, depending on how championship leader Stoner approaches the 12th round of the MotoGP World Championship.”I mean, there could be a combination of different scenarios,” Spies said. “We’ve definitely got good speed right now. We just have to see. With Casey [Stoner] riding as good as he is, he’s leading the championship and he’s got a pretty good lead, so it depends on how he rides in the race, really. He wants to win, I know, but also if he sees that his championship contender is not having the best race, then he might not take as many risks, when we can. So if we can have the same pace as Casey, maybe it puts us in a better scenario at the end of the race where we can kinda go out on a limb a little bit more than he wants to. All we can try to do is try to stay consistent and stay fast and he’s setting the pace right now. But the Yamaha’s doing a good job and we’ll just take it kind of session by session.”



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.