Ben Spies cautious on 2010 prospects

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Ben Spies insists he won’t get carried away after the reigning World Superbike champion made an encouraging start to his Yamaha MotoGP career last month.

Spies finished seventh on his YZR-M1 debut in Valencia and followed that impressive display with an eye-catching performance at the first winter test session for 2010.

Spies though is aware of the size of the task he faces to become a rare successful World Superbike convert into MotoGP.

The elite MotoGP quartet of Valentino Rossi, Casey Stoner, Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa led for all but 24 laps out of 451 in 2009.

And Spies will break the mould if he does translate huge early promise into a serious threat in 2010.

The last six riders – including Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team-mate Colin Edwards – who moved to MotoGP having won or finished runner-up in World Superbikes have done so with limited success.

Edwards, Troy Bayliss, James Toseland, Chris Vermeulen, Neil Hodgson and Ruben Xaus accumulated 319 MotoGP appearances between them and won just two!

Spies said: “I’ve got decent speed. I don’t have the alien speed yet but I’m not far off. But I’m closer to the front than to the back, so that’s a good sign.”

Spies certainly isn’t prone to making outlandish predictions or talking up his chances in 2010.

And he added: “I don’t like making too many predictions. Fifty per cent of the tracks I don’t know and being in the top ten is where I want to be. That’s my goal right now.”

And he denied his impressive Valencia performances had laid down a marker for his rivals.

“I’m just doing my deal and if people do or don’t like it, I’m doing everything for myself and the people that support me.

“There’s been a lot of ‘is he going to do this or will he beat this guy and does he deserve to get the ride?’ That stuff doesn’t bother me at all, “said Spies.

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt