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Interview with Ben Spies

It's good. Just doing the physio stuff. It's getting better. It's one of those things that just takes a long time to heal. It's one of the smaller deals in the ankle. But on the bike, it's not a big deal. It doesn't affect anything while I'm riding. I'm able to do enough training or what I do to be good on the bike. So it's not too much of a problem.

Q:
At Silverstone, both you and Colin were pretty vocal about some issues you were having with the M1. If you can be specific, is there a top list of three things that you can change to where you're currently toward the other bikes on the grid?

Ben Spies:
That's a hard one to answer just because different bikes suit different tracks. The main thing is we're just a little down on speed. But that's obvious. You don't have to do a whole lot of complaining about it. We can just see it on the top speed charts. But where it's lacking in that, it makes up, the chassis really good. The bike handles really well. Sometimes when we're kind of getting in a race with some other guys, it's hard to do what you want to do on the bike because lacking that little bit of speed. But I couldn't really put my finger on the three things I'd want to change. A little more power, but I'm sure it's coming. They know, and they're working as hard as they can. So we'll see what they bring.

Q:
Coming out of QP, did you guys find something in warm-up that actually gave you the confidence to run at the front?

Ben Spies:
No. Warm-up went pretty well for us. I think we were sixth- or seventh-quickest in warm-up, but we were also on used tires from the day before. So I knew we were pretty good, and I knew the guys who were ahead of us in warm-up, a couple of them were on new tires. So I figured we had pretty good pace, and what I was hoping for was a good start. And that was pretty much it. I knew if I had a good start, we had the pace to run around fifth or sixth. Once the race got going, the last 10 laps the lap times kept getting faster and faster, and the bike was working better and better. And it all came good in the end.

Q:
You downplay the effects of maximum speed, but at Silverstone the stats show Pedrosa had a top speed of nearly 324 km/h, and you and Colin both had a top speed of 315, 314. It's pretty significant. Can that be overcome? Are you on equipment that you think, if you knew the track and had more experience, would be able to be up front on a more regular basis?

Ben Spies:
It's hard to know. I don't know when I'm on the very limit of the bike. I felt like I was running good at Silverstone. But obviously when everything comes together, I'm sure the package can be on the podium. The top speed looks bad, but I think it stems a little bit more just from acceleration off the corner, which gets you the mile an hour at the end of the straightaway. The top speed of the bike actually isn't so bad. It's just getting off the corner. What the package is really capable of? The only way to know is by jumping on a full factory bike that's winning races and feeling what differences there are. That's a hard one to answer. At Silverstone, I felt like I was getting the most out of me and pretty much the limit of the bike, but you don't know what would happen if Lorenzo jumped on the bike, either. With better equipment, the lap times and the results are always easier. But I feel the package we've got is very good. We just need a little bit more acceleration off the corner. But Lorenzo, he wasn't the fastest top speed, either, but was quicker than us. Like I said, they know this. They need to work on some stuff, and I'm sure they are. It can't be that bad. It's winning the championship by a pretty good margin right now.

Q:
The statistics also show after Silverstone that you're leading the Rookie of the Year classification. Is that one of your stated goals this year, to beat Simoncelli, Barbera and the rest of that group?

Ben Spies:
Not at all. A lot of people are making that comparison and also the top American comparison. Right now for me, I've got my own goals and kind of my own game plan of what I need to be doing and the learning curve I need to be doing. The thing is, we're a little bit of a handicap to both of them. The Americans have a lot more experience than me in the MotoGP class, and the rookies have a lot more experience knowing the tracks, in general, and knowing where they're going when they get there. For me, I'm really not setting any goals of trying to top any crazy charts. We're just trying to progress and get better every weekend, and I think we've been doing a decent job at that.

Q:
Any comments on Yoshikawa in for Rossi, that news that came out today?

Ben Spies:
You hear through the grapevine of what's happening for a while now. So I knew pretty much right after Rossi's crash that it wasn't going to be me, so for me it wasn't a big concern. I don't personally know him, but maybe he'll do some development, maybe they'll learn some stuff. It's important to have somebody on the bike. But we're concentrating as much as we can on my stuff and the team, me and Colin, and that's all we can do.

Q:
Ben, are you and crew chief Tom Houseworth working any differently this season than in years past?

Ben Spies:
No. It's kind of just like it was last year and even back in the Yosh days. I talk with him when you come in. We talk with the suspension technician, and then there's always a Japanese engineer. We shoot a lot of ideas through everybody, and that's pretty much it. But when I come in, I mainly talk with him. We try to keep things consistent, which is important. Pretty much we're doing the same stuff we did last year just because even though it's a different bike, it's new tracks, a new bike for me, in general, just like it was last year. But how we work together, the way we work, it's pretty much the same as it's always been.

Q:
Do you feel you'll have enough engines this year?

Ben Spies:




Related Pictures

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Spies, British MotoGP Race 2010
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Iannone and Rossi, German MotoGP race 2014
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