Ben Spies has vowed to 'give everything I've got' as he seeks to claw points back from 2009 World Superbike Championship leader Noriyuki Haga, during the American's race debut at the 'awesome' Monza circuit.
Yamaha's star rookie closed back to within 35 points of Haga with a stunning last lap pass in race one at Assen, but an accident while leading early in race two - combined with a Haga victory - has put the Ducati Xerox rider 60 points clear, with ten rounds and 500 points still available.
"Assen was a really mixed bag," said Spies who, like Haga, has won four races so far this year. "During the first race I didn't have the same feeling I'd had all weekend on the bike and had to ride really hard through it. The second race felt really good but I made a small mistake, I barely touched the grass going in to turn one and lost it.
“Now we're moving on to Monza and I'm going to ride as hard as I can as always. There will be a lot of family and friends there so I'm going to give it everything I've got and still try to have some fun,” he added.
Spies - who can be sure of plenty of support this weekend, with the team's workshop located close to the north corners of the track at Gerno di Lesmo - underlined that the 2009 title fight remains very much alive, and is looking forward to experiencing the unique Monza experience.
“We've made a couple of mistakes this year in the championship but it's still there for the taking, just a bit further off,” he said. “Hopefully both Tom [Houseworth] and I will have a good weekend and we can fight with Nori for some points.
“The circuit is awesome, having tested here I can see why it's so special so I'm really excited about turning the wheels on race day and really experiencing it,” he concluded.
Unlike at Assen, Spies and crew chief Houseworth can count upon data gathered during last month's test session, when Spies beat Monza-ace Haga by 0.2sec. As well as the factory Yamaha and Ducati teams, Suzuki Alstare Brux and BMW were also present.
"Monza is one of the tracks where we have a couple days of testing under our belt so it's a more familiar circuit to some of the others so far,” confirmed Houseworth. “The time we had there was very important as now we have what we think is a good base set up to start the weekend on our Yamaha R1.