Ben Spies happy with 2011 prototype Yamaha

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American Ben Spies declared himself satisfied with his debut on board Yamaha’s 2011 prototype YZR-M1 in Brno yesterday.

With Valentino Rossi banned from testing the new bike because of his big money switch to Ducati, Yamaha gave Spies the opportunity to evaluate the new bike with runaway world championship leader Jorge Lorenzo.

Spies was offered the chance to ride the modified YZR-M1 with his move to Yamaha’s factory team being announced at the next race in Indianapolis later this month.

He completed 42-laps at the one-day test – 36 on the prototype machine – to finish with the sixth quickest time.

The prototype machine features a new in-line four-cylinder motor with improvements for smoother acceleration and more top end power.

Chassis stiffness has also been altered to improve braking stability and Spies was able to clock a best lap of 1.57.575. That was 0.5s quicker than his best lap in last Sunday’s Czech Republic Grand Prix when he claimed a brilliant fourth position.

The reigning World Superbike champion said: “I can’t say too much about the new bike and honestly I’m not sure exactly what I rode.

"I just got on and rode what was given to me and I didn’t set any blistering lap times today but that was not the objective. It was all about giving feedback and getting some data on the new bike.

"The good thing is that I was pretty much on the pace of the bike I’ve been riding since February and that is a big positive because we’ve got plenty of time to work on that bike. We got lots of information so it was a productive day.”

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt