Monday, 3 October 2011
Ben Spies mounted a brilliant fightback in yesterday’s Twin Ring Motegi MotoGP clash to claim his ninth successive top six finish in Yamaha’s home race.
The Texan’s podium hopes were wrecked after just three corners when he was caught up in a tangle with factory Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo and the Ducati of Valentino Rossi.
Spies was nudged into the gravel at high speed by Rossi’s falling Desmosedici and despite his best efforts to keep control of his YZR-M1 machine, he toppled over at slow speed having avoided making contact with the trackside barrier.
The 2009 World Superbike champion lost almost 25 seconds in the incident and re-joined the 24-lap race in dead last before he recovered superbly to salvage sixth with a late overtake on compatriot Nicky Hayden.
Spies said: “At the end of the first lap the gap to the first person in front of me was 15 seconds. I knew there was a couple of wild card guys that were going a little bit slower and I knew we could get some points. I knew Dovizioso had jumped the start and somebody had crashed behind me. I didn’t know who it was so I was just going to ride as hard as I could and see what happened. Then I saw people coming back and a big group in front of me.
"That’s when I thought the top ten was possible. And then when I was in tenth I saw a big group of people in front of me, so I just kept pushing and pushing and didn’t give up. It would have been nice to complete the first lap with no problems because the bike felt good and looking at the times and how the other riders experienced problems, if we had a clean race we could have battled for the podium. But that’s racing and we got the short end of the stick. Nobody wants to knock anybody off the track and crash. I was actually in a good position that turned out to be bad and that’s just how it goes, but I’m happy with how the race turned out.”
For more from Spies and six pages of coverage from the Twin Ring Motegi MotoGP race, see Wednesday’s issue of MCN.