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Spies front row at Phillip Island

Ben Spies claimed a 'surprise' front row start for Sunday's Australian MotoGP, an event where he looks set to wrap up the 2010 Rookie of the Year title.

Spies, the only rookie to take pole or a podium this year, claimed his third front row start of the season despite sitting out the final stages of qualifying.

"I'm really happy to be on the front row again but a little bit surprised," said the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider. "I was really happy with my pace and the lap times earlier in the session but each time I tried to go quicker in the last part I'd have spots of rain on my visor.

"I'd warm up the tyres and see nothing but as soon as I'd push going into the first corner to start a fast lap, I was getting a lot of rain on my visor. I didn't want to take a big risk when I knew I was already pretty close to the front row."

The rain duly got heavier and all riders pitted with two minutes to go.

Spies, a WSBK race winner at Phillip Island in 2009, thinks he has a real chance of fighting for his third podium of the year on Sunday.

"My qualifying time is a pace that I can run in the race, so I'm happy with that. I'm confident because I haven't finished a session thinking I put in a great session," he said.

"So if we can put everything together and ride really well and the bike is working good, maybe I can fight for the podium.

"I've got the lap time to make the podium but I just want to make the bike better for the last ten laps of the race."

Spies outqualified fellow rookie Marco Simoncelli by just 0.016sec, but the Texan can afford to lose 9 points to the Gresini Honda rider on Sunday and still secure the Rookie title with two rounds to go.

"It would be nice to clinch the Rookie of the Year title tomorrow. It would be another box ticked in what has been a really positive season so far," said Spies, who will join the factory Yamaha team in 2011.

Team-mate Colin Edwards completed an excellent qualifying for Tech 3 with fifth on the grid.

"It was almost my best qualifying result of the season but I'm happy with fifth and being so close to Ben on the front row gives me a lot of confidence for the race," said Edwards. "I have felt really good on the bike today and finishing second this morning gave me a lot of confidence.

"I had a fairly good set-up this morning with the bike but I was just missing a little bit of turning performance. We left the bike for the start of qualifying and I was basically doing the same lap times as this morning. So we made some changes to the front for my last rear tyre and immediately I was able to go half-a-second faster.

"It just felt easy and I gained so much confidence that I could put the bike where I wanted it to be on the track. I'm happy with my race pace and I'm ready, so hopefully I can get my best result of the year. We'll have to see what the weather throws at us but I'm ready for anything.”

Edwards hasn't finished higher than fifth this season.



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Spies, Australian MotoGP 2010
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Iannone, Marco Rigamonti Valencia MotoGP 2016
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Iannone, Valencia MotoGP 2016
Banner, San Marino Moto2 2016
Ezpeleta, Paulo Simoncelli, San Marino MotoGP 2016
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Ezpeleta, Paulo Simoncelli, San Marino MotoGP 2016
Gardner, Edwards, Doohan, Crosby, British MotoGP 2016
Edwards, Day of Champions, British MotoGP 2016
Rossi, displaying Simoncelli`s number, 58, on his helmet. Austrian MotoGP Race 2016
Banner, Dutch Moto3 2016
Abraham makes KTM debut (pic: Marco Campelli KTM Media Library)
Doyle and Edwards, Argentinian MotoGP 2016
Marquez and Miller, Qatar MotoGP test 2016
Pedrosa, Qatar MotoGP test, March 2016
Pedrosa, Qatar MotoGP test, March 2016

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Southerner

October 16, 2010 2:59 PM

Oh no,I see Ben is on the road to deep psycho analysis by the public,like Casey before him.I think he has the best temperament of the whole lot by a country mile. No need to play to the media and masses (Rossi).No need for one upmanship (Lorenzo).No need to be the eternal good old boy,like most of the rest.And definitely not desperate to be Rossi 2nd (Simo). Focus,get on with job and when the tailgate drops,the Bullh$it stops. I guess the strong silent type went out of fashion like the movie..Gone with the Wind. I really hope Ben,Casey and Nicky grace the podium tomorrow.Then again I liked Doohan and Rainey.That tells a story.Personalities...BAH !!!

Lloyd - Unregistered

October 16, 2010 12:08 PM

Great job by Spies. He knows more about what is going on in his own pit and whqt the bike can do over any of you chuckleheads here. Let him do his thing. I have pure faith in Ben. The guy has hearth and is very smart.



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