Spies continues to make his mark.

World Superbike newcomer Ben Spies brought his latest outing aboard the Yamaha R1 to an impressive close during testing at Kyalami by posting the second quickest time over the three days.

Having made an immediate impression at Portimao last month, Spies was once again in fine form at Kyalami, the three-time AMA Superbike Champion belying his rookie status to be second quickest on the first day out around the South African circuit.

Although the next day was blighted by an accident that heavily damaged his bike, Spies was able to gather himself up to join only Michel Fabrizio and Noriyuki Haga in the 1min 39secs bracket on the third and final outing.

With Spies already getting amongst more experienced WSBK competition, there is an increasing sense that he could be an outside title contender in 2009. With that in mind, he is already looking ahead to the opening round in Australia with interest.

“I'm really happy with the bike, the team and the progress we're making,” he said. “This was the first time we had the opportunity to go out and size ourselves up against everyone in a major test. We're ahead of where we thought we'd be at this point.

“There are two more test sessions this winter and I expect the bike will continue to improve as we move towards the season opener at Phillip Island in March.”

Spies also took the opportunity to gauge the differences between WSBK and the AMA series, with the American rider pointing out that there is more professionalism on the world stage.

“In AMA there might be two or three guys in testing who get down to business from start to finish,” he added. “There's no lollygagging here. No one's going around doing wheelies the length of the straightaway. Everyone pushes hard here all the time. The competition is going to be good for sure.”

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Spies, Kyalami WSBK test, December 2008
Villicum Circuit, Argentina, World Superbikes [Credit: WorldSBK]
Noderer, SSP300 Race, Aragon WSBK
De La Vega, SSP300 Race, Aragon WSBK
Loureiro, SSP300 Race, Aragon WSBK
Deroue, SSP300 Race, Aragon WSBK
Perez, SSP300 Race, Aragon WSBK
Noderer, SSP300 Race, Aragon WSBK
Noderer, SSP300 Race, Aragon WSBK
Valle and Deroue, SSP300 Race, Aragon WSBK
Deroue, SSP300 Race, Aragon WSBK
Noderer, SSP300 Race, Aragon WSBK
Noderer, SSP300 Race, Aragon WSBK
Deroue, SSP300 Race, Aragon WSBK
Perez, SSP300 Race, Aragon WSBK
Giacomini, SSP300 Race, Aragon WSBK
Deroue and Valle, SSP300 Race, Aragon WSBK
Bastianelli, SSP300 Race, Aragon WSBK

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Matt - Unregistered

December 15, 2008 12:59 PM

Would have been a stupid move for Ben to go to MotoGP on a Suzuki. That bike isn't capable of challenging for the title. They haven't built a good bike since Kenny Jr won the title in 2000 and he was almost beaten by Rossi that year if I remember right (I didn't watch back then, though, so I could be wrong). This is a better career path. Go to Yamaha WSBK, then move to Yamaha Tech 3 in 2010 if Colin retires or James leaves.

spiesfan - Unregistered

December 14, 2008 7:04 PM

"an outside title contender" get real guys, this guy was immediately more competitive than the factory Suzuki riders in his GP rides. He has 3 AMA superbike titles and the AMA has produced numerous world champions. ben is a serious title contender and anybody who does not see him as such is sorely under estimating the competition.

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