Ben Spies plays down early MotoGP hopes

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Reigning World Superbike champion Ben Spies has played down hopes that he can make an instant impact in his first full season challenging Valentino Rossi and Casey Stoner in MotoGP.

The Texan has been hotly tipped to be a having moved to the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 squad for 2010.

The 25-year-old, who completed a double victory in Qatar in World Superbikes last year, told a packed pre-event press conference in Doha today: “ Spies has impressed throughout the winter testing campaign with a series of top six finishes on the new YZR-M1 machine.

"But he said now it was time for the serious business of racing that his form during the shortened pre-season counted for little. Spies, who won a record 14 races on board Yamaha’s R1 machine in WSB last season, said: “I’ve got to be realistic.

"We've had a couple good tests and that's been great, but they're tests. We haven't raced yet and seen what we can do. A lot of the races are going to be new tracks.

"So we can have a good test and then you go to a track you don't know and you've still got to learn.

"As soon as you do a good test everybody starts putting more pressure on you and wants results. And it's hard enough to come in as a rookie and just to race in this series.

"And then in the first year when people are already starting to stay 'you may do this, you may do that.' it's tough.

"So the good testing we've done hasn't really done us favours on that front. But it's what I’m doing. I read some article that 13 of the 17 riders have won some sort of a world title.

"It's pretty tough company to step into.”

Spies might have an element of trepidation ahead of his first full premier class campaign, but he’s still excited at the prospect of challenging himself against the elite.

He added: “It’s going to be tough. I could have stayed in World Superbikes and been competitive, but I wanted to go out and try something new and try to push myself again.”

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt