Perfect Performance Delivers Maiden GP Victory for Spies
Texan Ben Spies chose to kick off Yamaha’s 50th Anniversary of Grand Prix Racing in style today, delivering a flawless performance at the Assen TT to claim his first ever MotoGP race win. Spies had been on form all weekend delivering consistent fast race pace in all sessions whether wet or dry and been beaten to pole by a mere 0.009 seconds by Marco Simoncelli. A great start saw him leading the race from the first corner, quickly building a sizeable gap to Casey Stoner in chase which he held and extended to over 7.6 seconds by the chequered flag. The victory was all the sweeter for being delivered riding in the special red and white livery used this weekend to mark the anniversary celebrations.
Team mate Jorge Lorenzo delivered a true champion’s performance after being cause to crash on the first lap by Marco Simoncelli. Lorenzo quickly remounted and charged from the back of the pack through to claim an impressive sixth place finish and salvage valuable championship points from the unfortunate incident.
As a result of his performance Spies jumps to seventh in the championship standings, tying with Dani Pedrosa on 61 points in sixth and just ten points behind Nicky Hayden in fifth. Lorenzo adds ten points to his championship tally and heads to Mugello next week with 108, 28 points behind leader Casey Stoner.
Position 1st - Time 41.44.659
“It was a strange race today as it was one of the most comfortable races we had and it resulted in a win. I saw the Simoncelli crash on the TV screen in the corner of my eye so I knew about it. I had a good feeling in the bike in the first couple of laps and had to push as much as I could to get a gap. When Casey was pushing back I still had a few tenths if I needed to, we could always match the pace. To do it this weekend with the 50th colours gives a little bit of pressure but it came out good! I was racing as hard as I could, I have to thank my guys; they gave me a great bike today. At least we’ve won a race now!”
Position 6th - Time +44.536
“Of course Simoncelli doesn’t want to throw me off the track, that wasn’t his intention but I think he is not very conscious about the risks in this class with these tyres. I thought he learnt from the past and the polemic he created with Dani but it’s clear he hasn’t learnt. The good thing is that we finished in sixth and took some points. I was fast with a good pace. The championship is now more difficult so we have to go all out to win races and go fast. We are making changes to the bike that are making it better with stability to brake harder and deeper so I think we can go to Mugello and be more competitive like Ben demonstrated today. I want to say a big congratulations to him for his first GP win and also thank you to all my guys who again worked really hard all weekend to give me a competitive bike.”
Wilco Zeelenberg - Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager
“A very tough race, mixed feelings here as we are very disappointed by the action with Simoncelli, It was a racing accident but pretty stupid. I’m happy for Ben that we were able to win here for the 50th Anniversary race. It’s good to see we are able to win and it was also good to see Jorge picked up quickly and was able to do very good lap times so we know the speed was there. I know we would have been able to fight for the podium. I have to congratulate Ben he did a great job this weekend and I feel sorry for Jorge as he didn’t deserve this result.”
Massimo Meregalli - Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director
“Ben rode a really fantastic race today, we are very proud and I don’t think his first GP win could have been more perfect. He was consistently fast all weekend and we were confident that he would deliver a really strong performance today. It’s even more special to have won here whilst celebrating our 50th Anniversary of Grand Prix racing. I have to say his crew worked extremely hard all weekend and made sure he had a bike that he could win on. I’m very disappointed for Jorge, it was clear the crash was not his fault. He showed his true colours as a world class racer with the way he rode following the incident. We leave Assen with a day of highs and lows and head to Mugello with even more confidence that we have made another step in our package and can challenge for more victories.”