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Spies quick off the mark at Catalunya

Spies quick off the mark at Catalunya

The American rider of the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team was fifth fastest in FP1 of the Gran Premi Aperol de Catalunya, a track he had never rode at prior to today.

Ben Spies continued his impressive adaptation to MotoGP on Friday afternoon by going fifth fastest in the opening practice at Montmeló, another new circuit to the American in his debut season in MotoGP.

Coming off the back of highly impressive results of third at Silverstone and fourth at Assen, Spies continued his MotoGP education in Barcelona on Friday. Running towards the bottom of the timesheet as the end of the session neared, Spies put in a fast time of 1’43.854 on his penultimate lap to leap to fifth position as he took to the new track well.

“The track is fun but the longer turns are pretty hard to learn. The last three turns are definitely a little bit different but I felt I was slowly getting to grips with it and I'm really surprised I ended so high up in fifth,” said the 25 year-old. “I learnt it pretty well in the middle and then in the end it was a lot better. I still struggled in a couple of areas but I know what to do, I just didn’t really put it all together. So I’ll have a good think about it overnight and see what we can do tomorrow.”

Spies used the hour to build his confidence and his fast lap came after progressive improvements on his M1.

“I went out on one bike and just worked on learning the track and when I switched to the other bike I found the turning was a lot better,” he explained. “I fixed the twitchy feel I was having on the front and that was a positive. Then I put the hard front tyre on and it was a hundred times better for me and it ended up being a really good session. We changed the geometry in the front-end and got the bike turning even better.”

Looking ahead to the rest of the weekend, Spies continued: “It is obvious rear grip is vital here in the hot conditions and the key is going to be who can set the bike up for the end of the race when there's not much grip. I'm looking decent on speed right now but we've got to manage it and make sure I'm fast for the end of the race. The aim is to be on the second row, get a good start and then latch on and try to be in the top eight.”

MotoGP, 2010, GRAN PREMI APEROL DE CATALUNYA, Ben Spies, Monster Yamaha Tech 3

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