Fantastic Front Row for Spies at Assen
Yamaha Factory Racing rider Ben Spies delivered his finest qualifying performance of the year so far at The Assen TT today. The Texan had been consistently quick in the morning’s extended final free practice having found a good set up for the Dutch circuit. The dry morning session saw him over 15 seconds faster than yesterday’s wet practice, ending in third just 0.26 seconds from provisional pole. Spies then went on to attack the afternoon qualifying session and was rarely outside the top two. He had been on track to claim his first pole position start of the year until Loris Capirossi crashed in front of him on his final hot lap. As a result he will start from the front row in second position having finished just 0.009 seconds from Marco Simoncelli on pole.
Reigning World Champion Jorge Lorenzo enjoyed a similar morning practice to his team mate, finding a good pace to finish the final free session just behind Spies in fourth although he was less happy with his bike set up. The afternoon’s qualifying proved similarly challenging with Lorenzo finding an improvement from the morning but still ending in fourth on the second row having been unable to find the perfect setting for the faster chicanes.
Position 2nd - Time 1.34.727 - Laps 27
“The best qualifying of the year so far, it was a good session for us. We would have liked to get pole position but unfortunately on my fast lap Loris went down and there were a lot of yellow flags. I want to be a little bit upset but I want him to be ok a lot more than I wanted pole position. All in all it was a great qualifying, the bike is working really good, race pace is good so I’m confident for the race tomorrow. I don’t know what kind of weather we are going to get so we’ll see how it goes.”
Position 4th - Time 1.35.143 - Laps 28
“Today has been a complicated practice and qualifying. We made many stops in the morning session and in the qualifying. The most important thing is we can see that our closest championship rivals are pretty close but I know we still need to make a step forward to be better. I have had problems in the fast corners today, I didn’t have so much grip on the rear so we have work to do for tomorrow. I’m very confident the team will do a good job to be ready to fight for the podium for the 50th Anniversary. Obviously the weather is not helping and we should be ready for both wet and dry conditions.”
Ben did a really great job today.
Wilco Zeelenberg - Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager
“Not such an easy qualification, Jorge was complaining a lot about his feeling of safety on the bike in the faster sections of the track and also rear grip so we need to work on that for tomorrow. Finally fourth position is not terrible but the worst we have been so far this year. Let’s see what we are able to do tomorrow morning to improve the package; this is our focus now.”
Massimo Meregalli - Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director
“Ben did a really great job today. He pushed all practice and was clever to think about when to use the soft tyre as conditions were quite unpredictable during qualifying. I saw him very confident on the track this weekend so tomorrow I have high expectations that he will be part of the leading group. Jorge as we know is a fighter, even though he is starting from the second row I am expecting him to be one of the top four riders fighting for victory. The team is still working hard, after Barcelona we made a big improvement with bike set up and this is helping the riders."