Ben Spies says he is as prepared as he could be heading into his maiden MotoGP World Championship season with Tech 3 Yamaha, the reigning World Superbike Champion hailing the positive influence of team-mate Colin Edwards.
Spies makes his highly publicised full-time MotoGP debut at Losail this weekend, the American's impressive performances during pre-season testing earning him an early 'one-to-watch' reputation.
Indeed, Spies – who has made four MotoGP starts in the past: three with Suzuki, one with Yamaha – admits there will be steep learning curves to negotiate, particularly around unknown circuits, but he took the time to thank Edwards for the role he has played in bringing him up to speed.
“I'm a little ahead of where I thought I was going to be entering the year, and I think we're in a good position to keep learning and keep moving up,” he said. “We also have some big new challenges ahead of us going to some new tracks and not knowing, and just the combination of riding with these guys.”
“Colin's been a super-big help. I think this year is going to go really well. We're definitely competitors. We want to beat each other. We want to beat everybody out there, but I think we both understand that racing against the guys we're racing against, we can work with each other a little bit to make the bike a little bit better.
“I think we're going to be good with sharing information and trying to make the overall package better, and battling it out on the track.”
While this will be the first time Spies has partaken in a 'night race', Losail remains a happy hunting ground for him having won both World Superbike races there with Yamaha last season.
“It took me a couple of hours to get used to the lights. The speed perception is definitely a little bit quicker than the day just because of the shadows. When you go through the turns, you feel like you're going a bit faster than during the day. It is a little bit different, but it's not a mind-blowing experience.
“It's just like riding in the rain: It's the same for everybody. I'll definitely be more comfortable. I won't waste as much time during the race weekend as I would have if I had never ridden in it. I'm glad we got to test in it; I think it's going to be good and I'm looking forward to it.”