Ben Spies more confident for Indy assault

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Triple American superbike champion Ben Spies believes he is finally getting to grips with the skills needed to become a major force in MotoGP.

Spies, who will be back on track on Suzuki’s factory GSV-R in Indianapolis this weekend, finished 14th on his MotoGP debut at Donington Park in July.

And after his eighth finish in his home race at Laguna Seca recently, Spies said: ”It’s just so different than a Superbike. When you’re going into a corner, you’re trying everything to make your bike go into the corner.

"You’re using the rear brake, having to adjust how much clutch you’re letting out and brake application to actually hit your line. With a GP bike, it’s a full stop, hit the brake, grab a couple of gears and throw it in, and everything stays in line. The aspect of actually going fast on a GP bike is hard.

"There’s a whole lot less stuff you have to do on a GP bike. But with less things to do, you have to go faster and you just have to push it. The brakes stop a whole lot better and it’s just a totally different ride. The bike is way stiffer than a Superbike and you can’t manipulate the bike as much when you move your weight around than you can with a Superbike because there’s just a whole lot less weight transfer.”

Spies though believes that there is less room for a rider to have an influence in MotoGP and he added: “You can be the best rider and if you’re not on the best bike or it’s not set up the absolute right way, you’re not going to win. It’s a lot of the bike here.”

The reigning American superbike champion also stepped into the recent debate about the overpowering effect of electronics in MotoGP.

“Honestly, there are a couple of things that my Superbike has a little more than the GP bike does, so it’s not that they have so much electronics. It’s more of the mechanical grip that the bike has when you compare it to a Superbike. When you throw new tyres on a Superbike, there’s only a certain amount of level that you can step up your riding and go faster.

"On a GP bike, you throw a set of new tyres on, and you have to trust it. It’s got so much more grip than I’m used to. That’s what I’m getting used to every time out, just being able to get to that limit when the tyres are fresh.”

Spies has been linked with the Gresini and JIR Honda squads for 2009 after he missed out on the chance to join Suzuki’s factory team after the British-based team re-signed Loris Capirossi and Chris Vermeulen.

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt