Ben Spies: Picture Special

"I just wanted to keep everything well within my limits"

THE 2009 MotoGP Championship may well have been decided in Malaysia but all eyes were on Superbike World Champion Ben Spies at the weekend when he made his Yamaha GP debut.

Spies did not disappoint, qualifying an impressive ninth, only 1.283 seconds off Stoner’s pole time and taking a sensational seventh in Sunday's race.

But prior to Sunday's finale, the Texan had played down his chances of making an immediate impact in the premier motorcycle racing class:

 “This is a different level … to do what we did in SBK is not possible. I know how fast these guys are, which a lot of people don’t understand. MotoGP and Superbike are different worlds. I hope to get there one day – but it won’t be next year.”

After the race Spies was a little more optimistic:

“I actually got a decent start, but I still need more time on the tires to understand what I can do in the early laps,” Spies explained. “I got shuffled back and a lot of that was because I stuck with the idea that this weekend was more or less an extended test for me and I didn’t want to be too aggressive. I definitely didn’t want to do anything risky, so I was riding cautiously.

“I actually felt more comfortable with the tyres the farther along we went in the race,” he said. “My lap times kept getting better and I turned my fastest lap on the final lap of the race so I felt pretty good abut that.”

On his swift but clean overtakes, the Texan said:

“The passes all felt safe. I think I could have passed some in that group a little earlier had I been a little more aggressive, but I just wanted to keep everything well within my limits.

“Things settled out late in the race and I think a lot of riders were just trying to maintain their position. I kept pushing trying to explore the limits a little more all the way through to the end, so that’s why I think I was able to catch some riders there at the end.

“I still have a lot to learn, but I think overall I did better than I expected. I really would have been happy with a 10th-place finish and that’s about where I thought I’d be, but by continuing to ride hard all the way I was able to improve a few positions.”

We can't wait to see Spies in action in 2010.  It's going to be awesome.