Ben Spies will start the final round of the 2011 MotoGP World Championship in Valencia from the front row and is confident of completing his first season as a Yamaha factory rider on a high.
Two years after making his Yamaha debut in Spain, Spies is heading up the factory team in the absence of reigning champion Jorge Lorenzo and will start on the front row for fifth time this season.
A boost for the American, who crashed heavily in the wet during FP2, he is now looking to consolidate his fifth place in the standings and end 2011 on a positive note.
“Qualifying was really hectic today for all the riders. There was a sprinkling of rain all the way through which makes you very nervous about how much to push. I have to say thank you Yamaha for a great bike. It's working great here so we just need to pray for some dry time for the race. We're going to get some rest tonight and try to make sure we end the season on a high tomorrow.”
Lorenzo's replacement for this weekend, Katsuyuki Nakasuga, meanwhile, will start in 15th position, just ahead of fellow MotoGP debutant Josh Hayes on the Tech 3 Yamaha.
“Today was quite difficult with the different weather conditions. I did feel that I understood the track a little bit better. This afternoon in qualifying we changed to a new tyre and I felt good with it but unfortunately was not able to make a better time as I was unsure how much to push with some rain falling. Tomorrow I will do my best for Yamaha; the experience will also help me in the future as a test rider!”