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Interview with Ben Spies

After taking his first MotoGP podium in last Sunday's Silverstone round, Ben Spies took part in a media teleconference organised by Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which will host its MotoGP round on August 29.

Spies will start fourth on the grid in this afternoon's Dutch TT at Assen...


Q:
Ben, has it sunk in yet that you're on the podium at this point. Is this pretty much where you thought you'd be on your progression in the class this year, or is it earlier or later than you thought?

Ben Spies:
It's definitely earlier. And it hasn't quite sunk in yet because, obviously, after England Sunday, we went straight down to London and flew here to Assen, and we're right back in it this weekend. It's kind of a good thing to keep in a rhythm and try to keep some confidence going. But my goal every race this year was to be in the top 10. Top fives would be a race win for me, so finishing on the podium was a big confidence booster. It leads into an important couple weeks of racing for us. And it came at a real good part of the season as far as going to tracks that I do know. I'm feeling pretty comfortable.

Q:
Can you describe your pass on Nicky Hayden?

Ben Spies:
Yeah. We tried one in the beginning of the last lap and didn't get it done. And then I was going on the back straightaway, and we go into a fast right-hander, fast left-hander that leads into a hairpin. My plan was to get as close as I could going off the back straightaway so when we went into the third turn, the tight right-hander, that I would be able to kind of slingshot and pass on the inside and kind of do a block pass. But Nicky saw, obviously, that I was there when I tried to pass him earlier in the lap. But he was definitely riding a little defensive but also trying to catch second place. Off the back straightaway, he just got in a little too hot, and luckily I was close enough where I could capitalize on it. If I'd have been another bike length or two behind, I wouldn't have been able to do anything. But we were able to sneak by on the inside, and I didn't have to do my planned pass, which was going to be two corners later. And it worked out for us. It was just one of those last-lap, everybody was on the limit. He made a small mistake, and we were just close enough to be there for it.

Q:
Were you at all surprised that you were in that position?

Ben Spies:
Yes and no. We saw that we had pretty good pace on the weekend. But we were a little bit down on top speed. So I was worried that if I didn't get off the line in a good position, it was going to be hard to pass people. But we passed Simoncelli and Pedrosa, and I could see we were closing on the podium spots. So once we did that and I saw that I could run the pace of those guys, I tried to save my tires as much as I could. And then be there for any mistakes or try to make some passes. And then with a few laps to go, we got past De Puniet and was set up in fourth place. I saw that I had some strong spots, and they had some strong spots. But we were able to get up in there. And honestly after qualifying seventh and having the crash on Saturday, I didn't think a podium was possible. I thought a fifth or a sixth place was possible. But we just rode as hard as we could and made good passes, had good lap times and was consistent, and was able to get on the box.

Q:
Was there ever any serious conversation about your substituting for Valentino Rossi on the factory bike, or was that entirely speculation?

Ben Spies:
It was a little more speculation than what it actually was. I think Yamaha, I was probably one of the choices to do it, and they probably would have liked me to do it if it was possible. But in the end, the way the rule is, it doesn't matter really what they wanted to do. It was impossible. I think a lot of people were kind of making it a bigger deal than it really was. A couple days after the fact, we knew it was impossible. There was no way for me to do it. And I just kind of set on my own thing, just did all my stuff I needed to do. And that was it. There wasn't much that could be done. Yeah, we just kind of laid it to rest.

Q:
Does having Valentino out of the picture change your strategies or plans for the next rounds in any way?

Ben Spies:
No, not at all. We have the same package we did before. It's just one less rider in the championship. It's a bad thing for the championship and a bad thing for Yamaha. But I really obviously wasn't racing Valentino and Jorge yet, anyways. So it doesn't really change the fact for me. And anyways, Lorenzo has been the guy to beat all year long. It's sad that it's one less guy on the grid. But I really haven't been in a race with him, anyways, or close enough to race with him. So my game plan's just been the same of learning and trying to get as good a finishes as we can. But for me, him being in the championship doesn't affect really what I've been trying to do.

Q:
How much of what you learned in 2008 you can carry forward to this year's race at Indy?

Ben Spies:
It does. I know the layout of the track, so that's a big deal. Obviously, when I was there we did have some dry time, and I did a test there. The race there was pretty treacherous conditions. But yeah, it's another track that I at least know going to. It's big. I won't have to learn the track. I haven't been there for a couple of years, but I still know the basis of it and look forward to going there. It's a U.S. round. It's going to be one of our biggest two races of the year, so I'm definitely looking forward to it.

Q:
How's your ankle?

Ben Spies:




Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Spies, British MotoGP Race 2010
Rossi, German MotoGP 2014
Rossi, Braking, German MotoGP 2014
Rossi, German MotoGP 2014
Rossi, German MotoGP 2014
Rossi, German MotoGP 2014
Rossi, German MotoGP 2014
Rossi, German MotoGP 2014
Rossi, German MotoGP 2014
Rossi, German MotoGP 2014
Rossi, German MotoGP 2014
Louis Rossi, German Moto2 2014
Louis Rossi, German Moto2 2014
Louis Rossi, German Moto2 2014
Louis Rossi, German Moto2 2014
Louis Rossi, German Moto2 2014
Rossi, German MotoGP 2014
Rossi, German MotoGP 2014

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