MONTEREY, CA, JULY 22 - Ben Spies is looking forward to tomorrow. For starters, he'll be taking to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in front of a horde of family and friends. But, more importantly, he'll be able to think about getting his Monster Tech 3 Yamaha set up for a racetrack he knows well rather than spending the first sessions figuring out which way the track goes."I actually might hit some brake markers the first session," Spies said in today's pre-race press conference at Laguna Seca. "I kinda know where I'm going. It's still different on a GP bike, but it's going to be a lot better. But racing these guys we have to race against is never easy. Hopefully, we start out on a better foot and can actually work on some things on Friday with the bike instead of learning my way around. I'm happy we're here, happy with how the season has been going so far. We've had a couple of ups and downs, but so far so good. Hopefully, we'll keep progressing and there's a lot of Americans here who want to make a statement and a lot of riders here in general who are going good right now. We'll do what we can and ride a 100 percent and see where we end up on Sunday."Spies said Laguna is special. Not just because it's in America, but because of his past results here."It's not just because I'm in America right now," Spies said. "It's always a track... when we came here in AMA, it's a special place with Cannery Row and the way Laguna is. For me it's always a special race with the way a championship came down a couple of years ago with me and Mat [Mladin]. It's quite a different track and a special one. I have a lot of friends and family here so it's kind of like a vacation race. You have to do work on Sunday, but you try to have fun and hopefully, for me, having fun and having a lot of people around will take some pressure off and I just go out and ride and see what happens."One thing Spies hope happens is that some new parts show up on his Yamaha M1 for his home race."I hope so," Spies said when asked if updates are coming. "We'll see. It's one of those things. Unfortunately, I don't know and riders don't know all the time what's going on, but hopefully we get something and it makes my job a little bit easier. We don't know exactly what's going to happen yet."His bikes will also have a new look for his home race - a Texas theme for the all-Texas team of Spies and Colin Edwards."It should be good and I'm looking forward to it," Spies said. "With team obligations we can't get too crazy, but it looks good. It's awesome that we have two Texans on the same team so we can run some pretty cool stuff. I'm looking forward to it and hope it's a good weekend for everybody. It's good to see the fans. Even though it's not quite as big as Jerez, and things like that, but the fans here are really rooting on the homeboys and it's a good feeling. I look forward to trying to do well for them, do well for the team and everybody."Four Americans are racing here at Laguna this weekend - Spies, Edwards, Marlboro Ducati's Nicky Hayden and his younger brother, Roger Lee - as a replacement rider for the injured Randy de Puniet on the LCR Honda."It's not so much for me trying to be the best American - you're at your home race and you want your best result for the season to come at your home race," Spies said. "Last weekend in Germany I was riding like I ride at every other track so every Sunday, every race, every rider on a MotoGP grid tries 110 percent. You hope everything comes together and you're best result comes in your home Grand Prix. For me it's not so much being the best American it's just trying to put everything together and giving a good result and that's all you can hope for."Spies, who had Roger Lee Hayden as a roommate at his home on Lake Como in Italy earlier in the year, said he'll help his roomie if he needs it."I sent him a text and wished him luck. I told him that obviously he has Nick as a brother to ask questions, but if needs any help I'll help him. But I told him, ‘If you do end up beating me, you're cooking more dinner and mowing the lawn more in Como next year.' "

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Paul Carruthers | Editor

Paul Carruthers took over as the editor of Cycle News in 1993 after serving as associate editor since starting his career at the publication in 1985. Carruthers has covered every facet of the sport in his near-28-year tenure at America's Daily Motorcycle News Source.

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