Ben Spies looking to build on impressive Sepang debut

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Ben Spies is confident he can impress again when MotoGP winter testing resumes at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia tomorrow (Thursday).

The Texan was a superb fifth quickest on the final day and seventh overall when he rode the long and technical Sepang circuit for the first time earlier this month.

And readying for his return date with the Malaysia venue tomorrow on board his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YZR-M1, Spies reckons mastering the technical Sepang circuit will help him conquer several other new tracks for him in 2010.

Speaking to MCN, the reigning World Superbike champion said: “I’ve really made a step in riding a MotoGP bike in the right way.

“It’s not perfect but now it feels more natural. I’m going to get more used to it and I’m sure it is going to be fine. But this (Sepang) track is a very difficult track.

“Coming from AMA to WSB, those tracks were a definite change for me but even this track is really long, really wide and it’s easy to get lost out there.

“If I can get to a respectable pace and do that consistently at this track, I think I’ll feel really comfortable going to most tracks, because this is probably the most unique track given its long and wide.”

Spies will be looking to improve his riding technique too at Sepang as he continues to try and drop his old World Superbike habits to adapt more to the YZR-M1 machine.

The Texan, who won 14 races on Yamaha’s factory R1 in WSB last season, added: “ I was crushing the braking points and nobody was going to come by me on the brakes.

“But I was horrible through the middle of the corner and the exit. Now I’m braking that 30 or 40 metres earlier but getting the bike set on the line it needs to be and getting off the brake and letting it roll through the corner.

“I’m keeping everything balanced and not so much hard braking or 100 per cent throttle. Sometimes the slower line feels better.

“I feel I get in there a lot harder and get the bike stopped and turned, but looking at corners like these (at Sepang) that link together it is momentum.

“These bikes don’t have the torque to fire them out of the corners so you really need to keep the rolling speed up. I was braking too deep and stopping too much.

“You really need to roll in that last 30 per cent of the braking zone and that first 30 per cent of picking up the throttle needs to be quicker.”

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt