After an up-and-down start to the 2011 MotoGP season, Ben Spies heads for this weekend's Dutch TT having finished only half of the six races.

Spies was lucky to escape injury when he made contact with a wall after falling in the soaking wet Silverstone round, but has favourable memories of Assen.

Spies took a World Superbike pole and race win at the famous Dutch track in 2009, then qualified and finished fourth as a Tech 3 Yamaha rider in last year's grand prix.

"I've really been looking forward to coming to Assen again. It's a track I love and the Yamaha M1 seems to really work well here," said the American, who took his first 2011 podium at Catalunya.

"It's a fast track which I really enjoy, I have so many memories of watching the racing on TV here as a kid, it's a privilege to race here now.

"I'm still pretty sore from Silverstone's crash but I'm not going to let it stop me giving 100% as always and going for the best results possible. It's also going to be really cool to go out on the track in the special livery in front of all the fans."

Spies, like team-mate Jorge Lorenzo, will ride in a special red-and-white livery to mark Yamaha's 50th anniversary of grand prix racing.

"The Assen circuit should be good for us this weekend; our bike should be competitive thanks to the layout and characteristics of the track, it is also one of Ben's best circuits to ride on," stated team director Massimo Meregalli.

First practice for the Dutch TT takes place on Thursday.