MotoGP rookie Ben Spies was on the verge of attacking Valentino Rossi for what could have been a home US Grand Prix podium, when he ran wide on lap 25 of 32.

After dropping back in the early stages, Spies had worked hard to get within striking distance of the injured seven time champion, who went on to finish third, but the 'moment' dropped him back behind countryman Nicky Hayden and Spies finished sixth at the flag.

"I got a really good start and was third but then for the next couple of laps I just couldn't get my speed up fast enough," he said of his slow early laps. "The group in front pulled a bit of a gap on me but once I found my rhythm I caught Nicky and Valentino pretty quickly.

"I passed Nicky and got right on the back of Valentino and it was a good fight with him. I was actually going to attack him on the next lap when I had a problem entering the final corner on lap 25," he said.

"I ran wide and lost out and although it wasn't the podium I wanted in front of my home crowd, I'm happy because I had the speed to come through the field and I had the speed to be on the podium. I couldn't quite finish the job and that was down to me."

Spies still finished as the top satellite rider, the top rookie and - with Randy de Puniet missing the race through injury - is now the top satellite rider in the world championship.

"I'd rather leave here knowing I could have been on the podium rather than leave here in eighth place and not on the pace. I can't ask for a lot more because I'm in the top six again, leading non-factory rider in the race again and putting up a strong fight, so I'm not too upset," he declared.

Team-mate and fellow Texan Colin Edwards finished one place behind Spies, but was over 20 seconds slower.

"I'm really happy with the way I rode all weekend and there was nothing more I could have done," he insisted. "Fighting for seventh is not really where I want to be in my home race, but compared to where I have been recently it is a big improvement and thanks to all my guys at the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 crew for all their effort.

"I had a good early battle with Melandri and Simoncelli and that was fun and I made a couple of good moves on them because I was quite a bit faster. Once I got by Simoncelli I put my head down to see if I could break them and that's what I did. But I couldn't even see the group in front of me and I just slowed my pace up a little bit because it made no sense to crash out of my home race when I was never going to catch them up.

"I was pretty much stuck in seventh all weekend and I never really had the pace of the leading group. But I'm closer to where I know I should be and the upgrades from Yamaha were a help and I can look forward to a good break confident of a strong second half of the season."


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