German MotoGP: Ben Spies relieved after lucky escape

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Ben Spies was a relieved man in the Sachsenring paddock tonight after he escaped serious injury in a horror crash during today’s qualifying session.

The Texan was an innocent victim when he lost control of his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YZR-M1 on oil dropped by Jorge Lorenzo’s bike on the start/finish straight with 25 minutes of the session remaining.

Spies crashed when he braked at the first corner having just elevated himself into the top ten.

He was lucky not to be struck by Randy de Puniet’s LCR Honda RC212V machine after the Frenchman also hit the oil dropped after Lorenzo’s factory Yamaha YZR-M1 suffered a spectacular engine blow-up.

Spies told MCN: “I honestly don’t remember much about what happened. I was almost off the brakes and that’s what surprised me. I’d just finished my stint and was pulling in at the end of the lap to start going for a qualifying time.

"All of a sudden I was on the ground and I hadn’t really tipped in. I saw de Puniet’s bike fly right past me and I knew it didn’t feel like he hit me. I walked over to his bike and looked at the front tyre and saw it had oil all over it.

"I knew it wasn’t off my bike because I didn’t crash on the rear. I lost the front. I knew I’d hit something and it was unfortunate for both of us and it sucks. I’m glad I didn’t get drilled by his bike because it came past me at Mach 4.

"Other than that it wasn’t a fun session. Everything that could go wrong pretty much went wrong.”

Spies had to settle for a lowly 13th place with a best time of 1.23.028 after he was unable to complete the session on his preferred YZR-M1 machine, which was badly damaged in the spill.

He added: “I’d only been riding one bike this weekend and that got tore up in the crash. The lap times on my number one bike I definitely had something in the bag for qualifying to go faster than I did.

"But the best I could do on the spare bike was match the times I managed on the number one bike. It wasn’t good and now we’re starting a couple of people from dead last but it is pretty frustrating because everything was going really good up to that point.

"The one decent lap that I was on at the end that would have put me a row ahead, (Alex) de Angelis crashed in front of me at the top of the hill and that just upset my lap.

"I really believe we have good pace but now we’re starting way back and we’ve got to try and get a good start and come through the field.

"But where we qualified today doesn’t reflect on where we should be. The session though was a disaster.”

Spies at least escaped injury less than a week before his vital home race at Laguna Seca next weekend.

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt