US GP: Tech 3 race report

Super sixth for Spies, seventh for Edwards at Laguna Seca Ben Spies had a big home crowd on the edge of their seats at the spectacular Laguna Seca track today after the Texan produced a brilliant podium challenge in the American MotoGP...

Super sixth for Spies, seventh for Edwards at Laguna Seca

Ben Spies had a big home crowd on the edge of their seats at the spectacular Laguna Seca track today after the Texan produced a brilliant podium challenge in the American MotoGP race.

The 26-year-old made a fantastic start from the second row and instantly gained three places by the first corner. Spies lost a few places as the frantic pace increased in the early laps, but gradually building his confidence with his rear Bridgestone tyre, he started a rousing fightback in front of a passionate home crowd of 51,436 fans in California.

Spies was over half-a-second adrift of an intense battle involving compatriot Nicky Hayden and fellow Yamaha YZR-M1 rider Valentino Rossi shortly before the halfway stage.

Reeling off a series of impressive fast laps, Spies was able to hunt down Hayden and expertly pass the 2006 world champion on lap 21.

Next in Spies' sights was reigning world champion Rossi, who was himself honing in on Italian Andrea Dovizioso in an exciting battle for the podium. But just as Spies was preparing to make a decisive move on Rossi, he made a small mistake in the braking zone for the final corner on lap 25.

Spies lost over three seconds and despite a heroic effort in the closing stages he was unable to regain the fifth place lost to Hayden. Spies though was still satisfied with his performance, his pace as the race reached its climax undoubtedly good enough to have put him in podium contention.

Colin Edwards produced his best result of the season in front of his home crowd to score a thoroughly deserved seventh position.

The 36-year-old showed all of his experience to patiently stalk Marco Simoncelli and Marco Melandri in the opening laps as the trio became embroiled in a thrilling fight for seventh.

Edwards passed Melandri on lap 10 exiting the spectacular Corkscrew section and he grabbed seventh from Simoncelli on lap 15. Edwards' superior pace saw him immediately pull away from the Italian duo to secure a seventh that puts him on the fringes of the top ten in the overall standings.

Ben Spies 6th - 77 points

"I got a really good start and was third but then for the next couple of laps I just couldn't get my speed up fast enough. The group in front pulled a bit of a gap on me but once I found my rhythm I caught Nicky and Valentino pretty quickly. I passed Nicky and got right on the back of Valentino and it was a good fight with him. I was actually going to attack him on the next lap when I had a problem entering the final corner on lap 25. I ran wide and lost out and although it wasn't the podium I wanted in front of my home crowd, I'm happy because I had the speed to come through the field and I had the speed to be on the podium. I couldn't quite finish the job and that was down to me. But I'd rather leave here knowing I could have been on the podium rather than leave here in eighth place and not on the pace. I can't ask for a lot more because I'm in the top six again, leading non-factory rider in the race again and putting up a strong fight, so I'm not too upset."

Colin Edwards 7th -- 48 points

"I'm really happy with the way I rode all weekend and there was nothing more I could have done. Fighting for seventh is not really where I want to be in my home race, but compared to where I have been recently it is a big improvement and thanks to all my guys at the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 crew for all their effort. I had a good early battle with Melandri and Simoncelli and that was fun and I made a couple of good moves on them because I was quite a bit faster. Once I got by Simoncelli I put my head down to see if I could break them and that's what I did. But I couldn't even see the group in front of me and I just slowed my pace up a little bit because it made no sense to crash out of my home race when I was never going to catch them up. I was pretty much stuck in seventh all weekend and I never really had the pace of the leading group. But I'm closer to where I know I should be and the upgrades from Yamaha were a help and I can look forward to a good break confident of a strong second half of the season."

Herve Poncharal -- Team Manager

"We can't deny that we leave for the well earned summer break with a small amount of disappointment because Ben was looking really strong and I think he had a great chance of claiming the home podium he desperately wanted. He got a great start and it took him a few laps to find his best rhythm like a few times this season. But then he was able to set some really fast lap times and he was able to pass Nicky and close right on Valentino. We were hoping for a podium at that stage though we know it would not have been easy because Valentino was riding at an incredible level. Ben was right behind him and looking strong for the last few laps and the home fans were super excited by his attacking riding. Unfortunately Ben ran wide in a couple of places and lost crucial time and that was something out of his control. He is a little disappointed and I understand that because he couldn't fight right to the end. But we're happy with his performance because his speed was undoubtedly good enough for the podium. I'm really happy with Colin's performance and I think it was easily his best weekend of the whole season. He was pushing at his maximum every lap of every session and he was strong in the race, passing Melandri and Simoncelli, who don't just lie down and make it easy. A sixth and seventh is a decent result for us and helped us consolidate our fourth position in the Team World Championship, so we can return refreshed and ready for a strong second half of the season in Brno.

-source: tech 3

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Series MotoGP
Drivers Nicky Hayden , Valentino Rossi , Colin Edwards , Ben Spies , Marco Melandri , Andrea Dovizioso , Herve Poncharal
Teams Tech 3