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Spies to ride for points

“Ben is trying very hard; he's putting in all he can. We have to consider what is best for him tomorrow so we will have a meeting tonight and make a decision for the race" – Massimo Meregalli.
The Factory Yamaha team, which won the 2010 MotoGP title with Jorge Lorenzo at Sepang, will start this year's Malaysian Grand Prix from the last two places on the grid.

A battered and bruised Ben Spies managed only 16th after falling in both of Saturday's sessions, while Lorenzo's injury replacement Katsuyuki Nakasuga will start his first MotoGP race from 17th and last.

“It's been a pretty eventful weekend. The bike is working really well but I'm just not feeling 100% and ready to get it over and done with," confessed Spies. "Qualifying was tough, we went out there and experienced a crash, I'm not sure why yet but we'll check the data later."

Spies' priority for race day is to protect his 17-point lead over Gresini Honda's Marco Simoncelli for fifth in the championship. Simoncelli has qualified in fifth place for the penultimate round of the year.

"We don't have a great position on the grid but we'll do the best we can for points to try and hold on to fifth place for the Championship," said Spies.

However, team director Massimo Meregalli revealed that Spies could yet withdraw from the grand prix.

“Ben is trying very hard; he's putting in all he can. We have to consider what is best for him tomorrow, so we will have a meeting tonight and make a decision for the race," he said.

4.1490sec off the pace on Friday, Nakasuga upped his game on Saturday to conclude qualifying with a best time 2.610sec from pole sitter Dani Pedrosa (Honda).

“This morning's session was quite positive for me. I had a good feeling and found a rhythm on the track which was very motivating," said Nakasuga. "Tomorrow I will try my best for a good position. The bike set up is working well so I am feeling confident for my first ever MotoGP race.”

Lorenzo's team manager Wilco Zeelenberg highlighted the contrast with last season.

“This is a completely different experience to last year where we won the Championship here. Now we are second last and last on the grid," he said.

"I think Nakasuga-san did a good job today, his lap time was a lot better than yesterday and he didn't crash so he did well."

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October 22, 2011 12:01 PM

Tough call whether to run Ben in the race when it seems pretty clear that he's not in a condition to be able to fully control the bike. Things are going to get pretty slippery out there tomorrow, either through rain or heavy tyre wear. It might just be better for his health to sit this one out and not risk further injury. I wonder if Monday's 1000cc M1 test is now scrapped, seeing as neither rider is in a fit state to push the bike?

Md Zane

October 22, 2011 10:57 AM

Think he needs to race(wobble round if need be),a good race from Sic and Rossi could put him in danger of dropping 2 spots in the championship at the end of the year. And there is the proof again that the gravel traps are no good for motorcycle racing,felt sorry for Ben lying there in the trap trying to grab a breath through those beaten up ribs.

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