Ben Spies won't have to work on his early race speed as much as he thought, after discovering that the latest version of the Yamaha M1 has improved one of his few weaknesses from last season.

The Texan, a satellite Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider last year, was often one of the fastest riders at the end of a race, but time lost in the opening five laps limited his potential.

Crash.net asked Spies, who has graduated to the Factory Yamaha Team for 2011, about his progress in that area.

"Yeah for sure, I think personally I've improved with that," he replied. "Also, in saying that, if I'd been on this bike last year I don't think I'd have had so much of a problem in the first five laps.

"I'm not so upset about it, because now I don't think I was doing a lot of things wrong.

"It was just the package - not holding me back - but it just wasn't able to do that [get up to speed] in the first few laps. So it's something I don't think I need to work on as much as I thought."

Spies took two podiums and one pole position on his way to sixth, and top rookie, in the 2010 world championship.

He finished the second Sepang test as the top Yamaha in fifth place.