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Spies prepared for “learning curve”

Spies prepared for “learning curve”

Ahead of his full-time switch to MotoGP the American rider has spoken about his decision to make the move now, and what he hopes to achieve in his first season.

Ben Spies’ first full season in MotoGP has created a great deal of excitement, especially after he finished the final race of the 2009 season as a wildcard entry at Valencia in a highly respectable seventh place.

The 25 year-old will line up alongside fellow American Colin Edwards as part of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 team in 2010, and explained to that he feels now is the right time for him to launch his full-time career in the MotoGP World Championship.

“I made my decision before I won the (2009 superbike) title. I felt that even if we didn’t win the title we were the strongest for the majority of the time. I felt I wasn’t going to be learning anything new by staying in superbikes for another year,” started Spies. “The number of years I have to hit my peak are getting fewer and fewer, and there are guys like Valentino Rossi, Casey Stoner, Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo. Along with the amount of talent coming up from the 250cc class this year who already know the bikes so well and also the tracks, I need to start as soon as I can. By the time I get to my peak, maybe I can be up there to challenge. Right now it’s learning time, and I would rather start the learning curve as soon as possible.”

Spies continued: “I really think it will take me one full season to get there. If I don’t show improvements in the second season then I’ll know I’m not fast enough to ride with those guys. I know I’m decent and can run in the middle of the pack, but first of all I have to get comfortable on the bike and start riding it to my limit. Then I’ll reassess the situation and find out where my limit is: whether it’s getting close to the front guys or if it’s running in fifth to eighth place, or tenth. I’ll see where I am and it still might not be close enough.”

Tech3 boss Hervé Poncharal and Spies have the same aim for their first season together.

“He just wants me to learn and do the best I can, and that’s what I’m going to do,” said Spies. “For the first half of the season I don’t think my results are going to be what will be possible the year after, but you can’t get to that level that quickly. Once I do get comfortable on the bike and I am riding well, I’m sure I have to take it to another level and find more speed if I want to run at the front of the race and make myself a better rider. It’s something that’s going to take time and Hervé and Yamaha are behind me.”

Spies continued: “Top ten is the goal, for sure. Seventh place at Valencia was emotionally like a win for me because I know how hard and how well I rode. People don’t understand how hard a top-five finish in MotoGP is. If we get a couple of those in the first season – around fifth, sixth place – I’ll be super happy with it. I think that for a podium to happen I will have to be riding exceptionally and I think there’s going to have to be a little bit of bad luck in front of me or a perfect race for me. If a podium does happen it’s going to be pretty much a miracle, and that would be awesome.”

“Realistically, if everybody is riding well and a bunch of people don’t crash out at the first turn, it’s going to be hard to see the podium in the first year and I’m okay with that. I’ve just got to keep building and getting strong – top ten, or top eight in the Championship in the first year would be taking a lot out of it.”

And discussing his experience in the final round of 2009 at Valencia, Spies expressed how happy he was with the result.

“We didn’t make any stupid mistakes, I didn’t crash and I didn’t mess anybody else’s Championship up,” he stated. “I guess you could say I messed Andrea Dovizioso’s up a little bit because I helped Colin Edwards, but that wasn’t even the plan. It was just to do as best as I could. In my eyes it was a good race for me because I wasn’t there to try and impress, I was there to get seat time. I really wanted to let the race come in and once it did I put my head down and was then able to start moving through some people, and we had a good result. After the first ten laps I rode as hard as I could for the rest of the race and I definitely wasn’t quick enough to win anything but it was a decent pace. But if I were to have raced three days later I would have been even better, so it’s just one of those things.”

MotoGP, 2010, Ben Spies, Monster Yamaha Tech 3

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