Ben Spies reveals tension with Yamaha
20 August 2012
Ben Spies, who announced via the internet that he was leaving Yamaha on the eve of last month's US MotoGP, has revealed behind-the-scenes tension with a senior member of the company.
After being forced out of second place by a massive engine failure in Sunday's Indianapolis Grand Prix - the latest in a relentless run of race day mishaps and bad luck - Spies was asked about his level of frustration.
Whilst reflecting on the setbacks he has suffered in 2012, Spies claimed that he was told 'not to show up' for the US GP if he wasn't going to ride at a hundred percent.
"There's frustration, but it's kind of almost got to a laughing point for me,” Spies began. “I'm really not even upset about it. It's just been so many things, one after another. You don't know how to respond to it.
"At Mugello, we had food poisoning, and that was a bad experience. I tried everything I could to do what we could, but it was a bad result.
"I was told by somebody at Yamaha that if I'm not going to ride a hundred percent at Laguna [Seca], don't show up.
"I came to Laguna, and I tried the best I could. The bike had a malfunction. Then we came here with a hundred percent and did the best we could, and we had another mechanical with the bike. I've given my hundred percent.
"So to be told what I was told after Mugello and the way it was, and then to give the effort I've given the last two weekends, I just don't think it's been too fair."
Spies, who was racing with a shoulder injury after falling in qualifying, refused to identify the person who had made the comment: "I'm not going to say any names, but yeah, it was somebody high up."
When asked if he felt Yamaha was not giving him a hundred percent, Spies added:
"No, I wouldn't say that. I know my team is, my crew. It's shown. The bike's been good the last two weekends. I just don't respect what was told to me and what we've tried to do this year.
“We had our problem at Assen with the tyre, which was not Yamaha's fault, and also at Silverstone. But at Qatar and here and Laguna, we've had three mechanical problems with the bike. I wouldn't say it's Yamaha's fault at all. It's just been bad luck, too.
“Why it's happening to me, I don't know. There was a big frustration level, I'd say, about a month ago. But now it's just... we go to Brno, and I just kind of wonder what's going to happen next."
Spies, who is just tenth in the championship with a best finish of fourth this year, will be replaced by Valentino Rossi next season. The former World Superbike champion, with Yamaha, is yet to announce his 2013 plans.
Team-mate Jorge Lorenzo leads the championship and finished second at Indianapolis after Spies' smokey exit.