Mat Mladin, former AMA Superbike team-mate and title rival of 2010 MotoGP rookie Ben Spies, believes that the reigning World Superbike champion is just as good as Valentino Rossi.

Speaking during a video interview with OnTheThrottle.com, the recently retired seven-time AMA SBK champion said:

"I think for sure [Ben Spies is] one of the best motorcycle racers in the world at this current time. No doubt about it. Actually, I'd go as far as saying maybe the best. And if not the best, not far behind Rossi.

"Obviously Rossi speaks volumes... the way he handles himself and what he's been able to do on a multitude of different motorcycles.

"But Ben is an amazing motorbike rider. I've raced a lot of people - a lot of young kids coming through and a lot of Old School guys going out. I've been around a long time and I've never raced anybody as good as Ben. Ever."

Spies won three consecutive AMA Superbike titles for Yoshimura Suzuki before moving to WSBK with Yamaha in 2009, where he won the world title at his very first attempt.

The Texan, who so far has a best finish of sixth during four wild-card MotoGP rides, will make his much-anticipated full time grand prix debut for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team at Qatar on April 11.

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