Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Ben Spies thrilled a large home crowd at Laguna Seca today, the Texan coming tantalisingly close to claiming his first MotoGP front row start at the end of a dramatic qualifying session. Spies looked a serious threat...
Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Ben Spies thrilled a large home crowd at Laguna Seca today, the Texan coming tantalisingly close to claiming his first MotoGP front row start at the end of a dramatic qualifying session. Spies looked a serious threat for the front row earlier in the session when he jumped into the top three with just over 20 minutes of qualifying remaining at the spectacular California circuit.
He slipped down the rankings as the action intensified but looked on course to return to the top three as he produced a dazzling final flying lap. But he lost precious time when Mika Kallio crashed at the legendary Corkscrew section in the critical final moments and ended up missing a maiden front row by just 0.062s.
Spies was still able to secure fifth on the grid with a best time of 1.21.679 and the reigning World Superbike champion is supremely confident that he can fight for a podium finish in tomorrow's 32-lap race.
While Jorge Lorenzo and Casey Stoner have been pretty much unstoppable at the top of the timesheets all weekend, Spies has looked a strong contender in full race trim and he finished leading American rider once again in a sun-soaked session.
Colin Edwards secured his best grid position since the Italian Grand Prix in Mugello after putting in a tremendous amount of work with his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 crew to find a comfortable race setting ahead of tomorrow's 32-lap race.
The 36-year-old ended in eighth position with a best time of 1.22.217, the American still unsure whether he will use the soft or hard Bridgestone rear tyre for his all-important home race.
Ben Spies 5th 1.21.679 -- 33 laps "It's a little frustrating to be so close to my first front row but I'm still really happy with fifth position. The last stint was good and I was actually on a front row lap for sure at the end. I was a tenth quicker and then Kallio unfortunately crashed at the Corkscrew. I saw a big dust cloud and yellow flags were being waved. I was really scared that someone was on the downhill part because you can't see going in there. I wanted to play it safe and I lost a tenth there for sure and that definitely kept me off the front row. I'm happy being in the middle of row two and besides Casey and Lorenzo, I'm in the battle for the podium and that's where I want to be. I couldn't be happier with that and if I get a good start and stay out of trouble then I have the pace to fight for the podium. For the win, those guys are going way too fast now. You never give up but they are on another level right now from everybody. I'll ride as hard as I can and have some fun in front of the home fans. It's been great to come home and see lots of support and hopefully I can give them something to cheer tomorrow."
Colin Edwards 8th 1.22.217 -- 31 laps "I've been riding really hard all weekend and giving it my all for the home fans, but I seem to be stuck around seventh and eighth position. I'm not sure what else I can do because I'm putting in my maximum effort and feel good on the bike. The goal is to try and get away with the bunch from Dovizioso down because the top two are way ahead of the rest of us. I need to find some speed in the final section where I lose a bit too much time and now we've got to figure out which rear tyre to use in the race. I was convinced yesterday that I'd run the hard option front and rear. But now I'm considering the soft rear. There's quite a big difference in lap time but I'm wondering how good the soft tyre will be at the end of the race. This is a really important race for me and for Monster so I'll be giving my all for a strong result tomorrow."
-source: tech 3