Fantastic fourth for Spies in sweltering Sepang Ben Spies strengthened his bid for a top six MotoGP world championship finish today, the Texan riding to a fantastic fourth place in scorching hot conditions at the Sepang circuit in ...
Fantastic fourth for Spies in sweltering Sepang
Ben Spies strengthened his bid for a top six MotoGP world championship finish today, the Texan riding to a fantastic fourth place in scorching hot conditions at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia.
Spies rode a tentative first four laps while he gained confidence in the left-side of his hard compound Bridgestone rear tyre, the 26-year-old's pace still quick enough to keep him fighting in the top six.
Once confident he could push to his true potential, Spies was able to reel off a series of fast laps to hunt down and pass fellow American Nicky Hayden on lap eight. Spies continued to increase his pace and his times were only bettere d by Valentino Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo and Andrea Dovizioso at the front of the field. Having quickly left Hayden trailing behind him, Spies then produced a stunning series of laps to close down a two-second deficit on Marco Simoncelli.
He caught and passed the Italian on lap 14 and was again able to quickly establish a gap that Simoncelli had no chance of closing as he streaked away to finish top non-factory rider. His tenth top six finish of an outstanding rookie season puts Spies 13-points clear of Hayden in the race for sixth overall in the 2010 rankings with three races remaining.
It was an eventful 20-lap race for Colin Edwards, the 36-year-old looking to carry on the momentum gained from his season best fifth place in Japan a week ago. A minor braking issue hampered Edwards in the early laps and once he'd adapted his riding style to compensate, he then battl ed a front-end grip issue. He was embroiled in an exciting four-rider tussle when he crashed at turn four on lap ten. His Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team worked frantically to repair his YZR-M1 machine, Edwards returning to the track to try and score 13th place. Unfortunately his efforts were unrewarded as he missed the cut-off for scoring points by just one lap.
Ben Spies - Position: 4th - Time: +13.676
"I got a reasonable start but I suffered with the left side of the rear tyre not coming up to temperature as quick as I'd hoped. But once it did it worked great and I was able to fight my way through to another really strong result. I was behind Nicky for a while and got stuck there but once I got by him I was reeling off 2.02s to get into fourth and I was happy with my race pace. I knew I couldn't get third and that was a little frustrating because looking at the times of the top three, if I could have got away with them I really feel I could have been there. I know Lorenzo wasn't pushing like his life depended on it with what he had at stake but I could have been closer to the front. It was still a good race for me and I made some good passes and I'm looking forward to Phillip Island now. Finally, I'd like to congratulate Jorge and Yamaha. Jorge has been fantastic all season and he definitely deserved to win the title. He hasn't made a mistake and I'm really looking forward to working with him in 2011."
Colin Edwards - Position: DNF
"That wasn't an easy race at all. Right off the line I felt good and made a couple of passes but I understood from the start that I had small problem with the front brake. At one point I nearly ran into the back of Ben and that made it really difficult in all the hard braking points and there are plenty of those at this track. On ce I adapted to that I was having some issues with the front tyre. I'd had a couple of moments over the weekend but after about four laps I was struggling to hold a line. I was still pushing hard because I was in a good fight when I crashed at turn four. I don't know whether it was the brake or the tyre or a combination of both that put me down but it was one of those where I was waiting for it go. I wasn't going to give up, run wide and let a load of people fly by but just lost the front. I went back out to try and score some points but unfortunately I was one lap short of being classified. I wasn't going to get in the way of Valentino, Andrea and Jorge, so I got out of the way and that lap cost me a finish. Finally I'd like to congratulate Jorge and Yamaha. They've been an awesome combination. He's been the fastest rider all year and he'll be the man to beat next season that's for sure."
Herve Poncharal - Team Manager
"On behalf of everyone in the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team, I'd like to congratulate Jorge and Yamaha for their fantastic achievement this season. Jorge has demonstrated all year that he has been the fastest rider and his consistency has been very impressive. It was also a good day for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team and once again Ben was outstanding. He wasn't as fast as he would have liked to be in the early laps but once he found his rhythm he was easily the fastest rider behind the top three. Once again he made some really exciting overtakes and I think a big crowd here today enjoyed watching Ben. It is a big shame for Colin because he deserved more for all his efforts this weekend. Unfortunately he crashed while pushing hard to improve his position. We fixed his bike so he could try and get some points and I want to thank Colin for going back out and trying his best for the team. It was unfortunate that he just failed to co mplete the required number of laps but we can look forward to both Ben and Colin having a successful race in Australia next weekend."