Catalunya MotoGP: Ben Spies upset with Aleix Espargaro

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Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Ben Spies hit out at fellow MotoGP rookie Aleix Espargaro after a thrilling climax to qualifying at a scorching hot Catalunya today.

The Texan was infuriated with the Pramac Ducati rider after he was slowed on a flying lap during the decisive final moments of qualifying.

Spies was languishing down in 10th place on the timesheets and using his last soft tyre when he was badly baulked by Spaniard Espargaro.

Spies was still able to compose himself and salvage a brilliant fifth place with a best time of 1.42.710 leaving him just 0.118s away from equalling his previous best grid position. 

The reigning World Superbike champion said: “I tried to put in a couple of quick laps at the end on the soft tyre and I rode really hard to get myself up the grid. I'm pretty upset because Espargaro blocked me. He saw me coming and didn't even move and I was lucky because that was already on my third lap on the last soft tyre I had available.

"I had to do my fastest lap on the fourth lap on the tyre and I didn't think I'd get as high as fifth and was worried I'd be a lot further down. So considering that, I'm pretty happy with how it ended. It will be a tough race but I'll be giving it my all to continue the momentum I gained with good results at Silverstone and Assen.”

Spies is happy with his pace in full race trim having completed an endurance run of 20 laps earlier in the session.

Keen to evaluate the performance of Bridgestone’s hard compound tyre in the extreme hot conditions, he did a 20-lap stint – five laps short of race distance.
Track temperature hit 53 degrees this afternoon and the 25-year-old said: “I did close to a full race simulation at the beginning just to see how it was, check how the bike is going to be in the heat and when the grip drops off.

"The first ten laps won't decide the race here and that's why I wanted to do the distance run. I was only going to do ten laps but I ended up staying out and doing 20 and we got some good information. I was pretty happy with the performance of the bike and physically I felt great.”

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt