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Ben Spies 'needs a miracle' for 2010 MotoGP podium
5 November 2009
Newly crowned rookie World Superbike champion Ben Spies claims it'll be a miracle if he finishes even near the podium during his first full MotoGP season, in 2010.
The American star took the World Superbike Championship by storm this year, winning 14 of the 28 races and Yamaha's very first WSBK crown.
That led to a Tech 3 Yamaha MotoGP deal for 2010, which Spies will prepare for by making his M1 debut as a wild-card in this weekend's Valencia season finale, having previously ridden in three races during 2008 for Rizla Suzuki.
“This weekend's gonna be good,” said Spies at Valencia on Thursday. “When we made the decision to go to GPs a month or so ago I said maybe the wild-card is a good thing to do. With the limited testing, it's three more days on the bike and then the test after the race will be a proper test, not just poking around.
“I know what to expect. I know how fast these guys are, which a lot of people don't understand. I do because I've raced against them a couple of times. It's hard to expect anything for my first race with Yamaha. Two and a half hours of track time is gonna be difficult. I can only try and learn and make small steps.
“To do what we did in World Superbikes [in MotoGP] is impossible for a long time, if ever.
“A Superbike and a MotoGP bike are two different worlds. Where in World Superbikes the goal every time I showed up to a race weekend was to win, here I've told people that if I even saw a podium next year it would - I think - be a miracle,” he claimed.
“There are 250 riders coming up next year and these guys [the present MotoGP riders] are so fast right now. Next year is a learning year. Try not to make too many mistakes and evolve as a rider, because I have a very Superbike riding-style which wouldn't work too good on these bikes.
“I have to do more learning than I've ever done in my career. When I say this a lot of people think 'yeah whatever' but it's a different world up here. I'll have to start from scratch and keep building and building.
“Hopefully we'll get there someday; it's definitely not going to be next year.
“We had a great year in World Superbikes and just to get here in MotoGP is difficult, let alone finish top ten, top five and win races. I don't understand what it takes to win races yet because I've never been up there!
“MotoGP is something I want to try, I'm at the right age to learn and keep evolving but it's going to be tough,” he concluded.
Spies will ride a fifth YZR-M1 run by Yamaha this weekend, before making his Tech 3 debut in testing on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Spies finished 14th (Donington Park), 8th (Laguna Seca) and 6th (Indianapolis, wet) in his three rides for Rizla Suzuki last season.
The triple AMA champion has a contract with Yamaha for 2010 and 2011, having originally intended to stay in WSBK for one more year.
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