Ben Spies is confident he will be able to mount a podium challenge in the Indianapolis MotoGP race on Sunday despite a late crash in opening practice.
The Texan, who has been confirmed as Valentino Rossi’s replacement in the factory Yamaha squad for 2011, had to settle for eighth place in practice after he crashed out with just six minutes remaining.
Prior to that late incident at turn six, the reigning World Superbike champion had been in impressive form.
The 26-year-old had twice topped the timesheets in the opening 15 minutes and was a constant threat around the top five for the majority of the hour-long session.
The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider said: “I’m actually pretty happy with that session even though it ended not so great with the crash. I’m not too upset because it was one of those crashes that I know what I did wrong.
"I slapped my face a little bit on the scooter on the way back to the box because I knew what I was doing was not going to work. I just chanced it but there’s a bump going into turn six.
"I knew I was turning in too early but I thought I'm not pushing the front hard enough to make a difference. But as soon as I hit he bump I lost the front.
"I missed the last five minutes and I definitely could have gone quicker because the bike was working good and I felt good. The main part of the session was good. I was right up there all the time but it was just one of those stupid crashes.
"I knew what was going on and I just made a mistake. But apart from the little mistake I had a good session and I did quite a lot of consistent fast laps and we have a lot of good data, on race tyres.
"Everything worked besides me being an idiot for about five seconds but that stuff happens.”
Spies ended with a best time 1.41.722 to finish 0.838s behind Casey Stoner.