Former British champion and Eurosport commentator James Whitham has hails Ben Spies as 'the real deal' following the outstanding start to his first World Superbike Championship season.
Spies came to the series lumbered with the weight of anticipation after a successful tenure in the USA-based AMA Superbikes, with Crash.net
readers even predicting he would win this year's title despite not having yet turned a wheel in a WSBK race.
Nonetheless, the young American has more than lived up to expectations, winning three of his first four races with the Yamaha WSB team to sit just ten points behind Ducati's Noriyuki Haga.
Having commentated on Spies' victorious start to the season, Whitham is convinced he is a complete package in that he is fast, learns circuits quickly and doesn't crash often.
“I hate to say it, but he is that good - he is the real deal,” he told Crash.net
. “Not only is he quick, which we already knew he would be, but he learns circuits within about ten seconds of arriving at them! It would appear that he knows how to set a bike up too. Very few have all that you need to succeed at that level, and he appears to have it all.
“The major thing for me at this point is that he can stay on the bike. He just doesn't crash! Just look at his record in the States and it shows that he finishes – and he finishes well. He doesn't seem to have an Achilles heel!”
Nonetheless Whitham stops short of predicting Spies will romp to this year's title, saying it will be interesting to see what happens when arch-rivals Ducati arrive at circuits better suited to their twin-cylinder machine.
“I don't want to say that he is going to win the World Superbike Championship this year, but I certainly wouldn't bet against him.
“We will have to see what he does when we get back to the quirkier circuits, certainly ones that suit the Ducati more. The circuits we've been to so far, especially Losail, have never favoured the twins, so I'm hoping that once we get back to Valencia, Haga will be able to get back with him for the excitement of the championship! If not, it isn't going to be much fun for us!”