Monster Yamaha Tech 3's Ben Spies overcame the handicap of the slowest bike in the field to qualify fifth for the inaugural Aragon Grand Prix.Spies will start from row two for the seventh time in the last eight races after qualifying just off the front row in Saturday's 45-minute session.His YZF-M1 topped oub at 317.9 kph, well down on the benchmark 327.8 kph of third fastest Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda).The Texan made up for the lack of top speed by getting his YZR-M1 to turn better in the long corners of the 3.155-mile circuit. That strategy got him within .059 secs. of fourth fastest Nicky Hayden of the Ducati Marlboro team."I'm pretty happy to be on the second row again and I managed to put in some decent laps on the race tire that bodes well for tomorrow," Spies said. "I can still improve the bike and make it steer better in the longer corners, because in the tight and twisty sections we've got it working pretty well."I'm in that top six battle where I need to be and I'm satisfied with that because I'm still in that fight for the top three in the championship. The start will be crucial because we're lacking a little bit of speed on the straight, so I need to get off the line good to try and go with those guys at the front. This track has got a lot of passing opportunities so it should be fun and a pretty good race for the fans to watch. I'm just trying to stay in that top six for the rest of the season but it is good that I'm consistently able to qualify and race with the fastest riders in MotoGP ."Teammate Colin Edwards had a less successful day. In his 100th race for Yamaha, Edwards qualified eleventh fastest. His mistake was trying to qualify on the hard option Bridgestone rear, rather than the soft that everyone else preferred."I started the session on the hard tire and then switched to the softer compound to try and get my grid position but I had a bit of spinning and couldn't really get the best out of it," he said. "At that point I thought it would be better to try and qualify with the hard tire because it was a bit more stable and I'd been able to run a better lap time. So for the last run I had a new hard and a new soft tire to choose from and I went for the hard. All weekend I'd gone faster on the hard tire, but the last one I couldn't get the same feeling. I came back in with only four minutes to go and put the last soft tire in knowing I'd only get one lap in. I scrubbed the tire off as good as I could on the out lap and got my head down, but I made a couple of really small mistakes that cost me a couple of places on the grid."Tomorrow is my 100th race for Yamaha and as always I'll be giving it the best effort I can."

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By Cycle News Staff

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