TT Circuit Assen
Spies excels at Assen to take first MotoGP victory
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium. Rear (asymmetric): Medium, Hard
Ben Spies took his first MotoGP victory in fine style today at Assen, controlling the race from the front to romp to an eventual 7.7second lead over second-placed Casey Stoner and his Repsol Honda teammate Andrea Dovizioso.
The weather had been overcast all day and rain meant that the 125cc and Moto2 races were both wet, but by the start of the MotoGP race the conditions had become sufficiently dry for slick tyres, although the skies remained overcast. In the cool and slippery conditions, every rider on the grid opted for the softer specification front and rear slicks apart from Marco Simoncelli and Karel Abraham who used the harder option front.
With the track barely damp by the start of the race, the initial lap was always going to be crucial but several riders fell foul of the conditions. Abraham and Randy de Puniet retired in separate incidents, whilst Marco Simoncelli got caught out exiting turn five and took Jorge Lorenzo into the gravel with him although both restarted.
Hiroshi Yamada – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department
“This is a fantastic win for Ben, especially during Yamaha’s 50th anniversary celebrations, so I’d like to congratulate his team and Yamaha for their performance today. He becomes the tenth rider to have taken a premier class win on Bridgestone tyres and it is good to have a new race winner in MotoGP. It was a very tricky weekend for riders but also for our tyres. All season the temperature at races seems to be significantly lower than last year, and with the effect of rain over the last three days the track condition was very slippery and off-line it was still damp so today many riders used the softer slicks for improved warm-up.”
Hirohide Hamashima – Assistant to Director, Motorsport Tyre Development Division
“The conditions today were cold and damp in places which meant that almost all riders used the softer option front and rear slicks. The soft compound front was used for its improved warm-up performance and grip with the low temperature, but the compromise of this means that tyre wear was therefore higher. Some riders experienced some graining of the front tyre, including Cal who opted to return to the pits for a fresh soft front slick. Generally, as Ben showed, rear tyre performance was ok today, even on the left side, although a few riders got caught out on the first lap. Andrea reported a vibration from the rear of his bike but investigation shows that this didn’t have anything to do with the rear tyre but may have been the effect he felt of graining on the right side of the front tyre.”
Ben Spies – Yamaha Factory Racing – Race Winner
“It’s a special win – this is the biggest win for me and as good as it gets. This track is a track I grew up watching my heroes race on, and with this one being the 50th anniversary of Yamaha and with the special colours and all the legends watching, it all came together. The race went extremely well for us. It was tough in some ways but easy in others as it was good to be in a good rhythm where I could set my pace. We used the softer front tyre, which I never do, because of the conditions but we had to be cautious. It was damp off-line but we just had to be smart about it. We were able to get into the rhythm quickly this time, and it was a fun race.”