Indy MotoGP: Ben Spies talks ‘dream’ first pole position

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Ben Spies said his first MotoGP pole position was a ‘dream’ after he produced an outstanding qualifying performance on home soil at Indianapolis.

The Texan’s already impressive rookie campaign got even better when a lap of 1.40.105 secured him a stunning maiden pole position in baking hot conditions at the world famous Indianapolis track.

The reigning World Superbike champion first jumped to the top of the timesheets with 12 minutes remaining when he surged up the leaderboard from ninth.

Jorge Lorenzo and Nicky Hayden relegated him back down to third spot. But his brilliant lap in the final two minutes saw him edge out Spaniard Lorenzo by 0.220s.

Spies became the first non-factory rider to claim a pole position since Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team-mate Colin Edwards topped qualifying in Shanghai in 2008.

And Spies, who will replace Valentino Rossi in Yamaha’s factory squad next season, said: “It's a dream. To have a pole position at any time in MotoGP is great and to be able to do it in the first season on the Monster Tech 3 bike in front of the American crowd, it's great.

"It's kind of ticked all the boxes this weekend. I’ve just not got to get ahead of myself.

"The conditions were difficult with the track, not just because it was hot, but a lot of sliding around. It gets greasy and through a couple of the turns you're almost kind of twiddling your thumbs, spinning the bike and playing around with it.

"It was difficult for everybody. We put together a good lap. It wasn't the most perfect lap in the world, but we finally didn't make too many mistakes.

"Like I said, it gives us confidence for the race, but we've also got to find some more race pace. These guys are going fast. So we'll try to get a good start to stay there in the first few laps and try not to make mistakes and see what happens.”

Spies only scored his first front row start at the Brno circuit in the Czech Republic earlier this month and he admitted that final confirmation of his move to the factory Yamaha squad in 2011 had eased some pressure.

He said: “It kind of took the pressure off with the announcement on Friday and just knowing what's going on. I really want to repay the Tech 3 team because they've helped put me in a place to be there.

"To be able to get a pole for them and hopefully end the season good and keep being consistent and progress is what I’m looking at. But we'll just savour the moment right now and try to put a hard 45 minutes and see what happens in the race.”

Asked if he could contemplate winning the race and becoming the first non-factory rider to be victorious in MotoGP since Toni Elias snatched a last gasp win over Valentino Rossi at Estoril in 2006, the 26-year-old added: “There were a bunch of boxes to be ticked this year, but the problem is there's really only one left. We've had top fives, a podium and now a pole.

"I mean, why not? You always go for it. A racer is there to win but it's not always to be had.

"If we get a good start we've got to hang in there, and if we're there we'll try to win the race. We won't be thinking of that the first few laps, we'll just try to stay clean, and a good start's really key here with the first lap and first few turns.

"Just try to be consistent and give him (Jorge) a race at least. If we don't he's going to be having a cappuccino with two races to go and not even going to be here.”

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt