This weekend's Aragon Grand Prix provides one of the few opportunities for Ben Spies to be on an equal footing with the other factory MotoGP riders in terms of track experience.
MotoGP made its first visit to the demanding Spanish circuit last season, when rookie Spies finished fifth for Tech 3 Yamaha, after winning an exciting duel with Andrea Dovizioso.
Now a Factory Yamaha rider, Spies returns with a MotoGP victory under his belt and looking for his fourth podium of the season, as he also seeks to close the 15-point gap to Dani Pedrosa in the standings.
“It's great to come to a track on the calendar where I have the same level of experience as the rest of the field," said Spies.
"Last year was one of my most enjoyable races, it was great fun fighting with Dovi to keep fifth and we weren't so far from the battle for third until I made a small mistake.
"I've had a chance to relax at my home in Como after the Indianapolis and Misano back to back races so I'm feeling good and looking forward to seeing what we can do.”
Team director Massimo Meregalli added that the trapped nerve which has hindered Spies since Brno continues to improve and that the layout should suit the M1.
"Ben is recovering well from his trapped nerve issue and is getting closer to full fitness again," he said. "Apart from one corner the Aragon circuit layout should be good for us and suit the YZR-M1, so our expectations are quite high for this weekend.”
The top Yamaha in last year's event was Jorge Lorenzo, in fourth.