Brno MotoGP: Ben Spies thrilled with best ever qualifying
Ben Spies was just 40 seconds away from claiming a stunning maiden pole position in MotoGP after a dramatic end to qualifying at the Brno circuit today.
A best lap of 1.56.846 clocked in the final five minutes looked to have given the Texan his first ever pole position as Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi both crashed out trying to better his benchmark.
But just when Spies thought he secured the best time, Spaniard Dani Pedrosa produced a clinical late attack and an impressive 1.56.508 secured the Repsol Honda rider top spot by 0.338s.
Reigning World Superbike champion Spies was still delighted to have clinched his first ever premier class front row start, the 26-year-old sandwiched in between Pedrosa and Lorenzo on the grid for the 22-lap race.
Spies said: “My goal was to be on the second row and I didn't think the front row was possible, let alone a pole position. From the start of the weekend every change we have made to the bike has been better and that doesn't usually happen. I had a decent pace so I was confident I could have a good qualifying. When we put the second soft tyre in I got into first position and I thought people would go faster. I did a really good time at the end but when I saw I was still up there I thought, ‘I could do this.’ With one minute to go I saw Dani coming and I moved over for him but I thought ‘man, I could easily just pull in front of him and get pole’. That was his fast lap but I'm not like that. He did a good job and I didn't have those last three tenths anyway and the time I set was a good time for me. I'm happy and it would have been nice to have a pole position but at this point just being not he middle of the front row is way good enough for the race. I gave it everything I had and it went better than I thought it was going to. I definitely exceeded my expectations for the session and I think the race will be pretty good for us”
Spies said the crucial factor in his bid to claim a second MotoGP podium to add to his Silverstone third place would be his pace in the first few laps.
Spies has admitted taking too long to find his speed in the early laps and he added: “I'll try and get a good start and if I can latch onto those guys for the first six or seven laps I can put together a good race. I’ve struggled in the first few laps in some races but here I've been able to get into a fast rhythm pretty quick, so I'm looking forward to it. This is just qualifying but it gives you confidence for the race. I’ve had a podium in my first full season and a front row is another box ticked and that’s very satisfying for me.”