Ben Spies is looking forward to returning to Monza next month after getting his first taste of the high-speed Italian circuit during a two-day test this week.
Yamaha's Spies went up against factory rivals Xerox Ducati, Suzuki Alstare Brux and BMW at Monza, the American overcoming his inexperience of the circuit to claim the quickest lap of 1min 45.3secs.
Working on set-up ahead of next month's World Superbike event, Spies is confident he can form a victory challenge.
“The test was good, it was really good to come back and reset myself after Valencia as I was feeling really frustrated. It was good to take a couple of days off, then come back fresh. We found a really good pace, and I loved Monza which is another new track for me.
“We also did half a race simulation, and got some really competitive times. I think we've got a good set-up for the bike for when we come back here. Hopefully we'll show up with a couple more tricks on the bike as well.”
On the other side of the garage, team-mate Tom Sykes, who was half a second slower with the fifth quickest time, is already counting down the days until he returns to Italy.
“As soon as I did my first lap I had a big smile, the track is amazing, and not what I'm used to at all, lots of fast straights and fantastic corners. It was a really good test for me, we've proved again we can be very fast and we can do the lap times over distance.
“Overall we've found a good set-up. It was a great opportunity for myself and my side of the garage to look at what changes we make and what it does to the character of the bike. We should be faster now which is good, considering the pace we have already. I've always wanted to ride Assen, unfortunately it's not the old full circuit I'm but still looking forward to it.”
“Overall it's been a really good test for us for both riders,” added team manager Massimo Meregalli. “We tested some chassis set ups and both the riders were quite happy with the developments.
“We got some good long runs in, especially for Ben so in the end we are quite satisfied. Last year the lap record was 1'45.8, Ben was running consistent laps below this time on race tyres, including a 1'45.3. Tom also proved to be consistently fast and we were happy to see him dipping under last year's lap record.”