German MotoGP: Ben Spies rues qualifying crash

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Ben Spies is adamant he could have challenged for a top five result in yesterday’s German MotoGP race after he settled for a hard fought eighth in front of over 98,000 fans at the Sachsenring.

The Texan blamed his big crash in Saturday’s qualifying session for his first finish outside of the top since last month’s Italian Grand Prix at Mugello.

Spies was given a mountain to climb when he qualified his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 machine in 13th after he’d crashed heavily on oil dropped by Jorge Lorenzo.

In the restarted race reduced to 21-laps, Spies came from outside the top ten with passes on Hector Barbera and Marco Melandri.

But he was a fraction over five seconds away from a group fighting for fifth that included fellow American Nicky Hayden, Marco Simoncelli and Andrea Dovizioso.

He superbly cut the gap down to just 1.3s but was unable to get close enough to launch an attack and the 26-year-old said: “Eighth place does not reflect what happened on track.

"It doesn’t make it feel better but I’m trying to think in a positive way and every session that was clear and everything was going normal, I was there in the top six or seven.

"I was happy with how I learned the track but I had misfortune in qualifying and that was nobody’s fault. But I got screwed on that and that’s how racing is.

"I had a bad start and just got shuffled behind some people and it was hard to pass. Obviously we’re lacking that punch off the corner and that made it really tough.

"In the restart I was in an okay place in turn one I was on a good line for the next few corners but (Mika) Kallio crashed in front of me. That opened up quite a big gap and I caught Melandri and I just couldn’t get by him.

"They were parking in the corners and then jumping out and I was struggling to get around them. Once I did I was happy. Dovizioso, Simoncelli and Nicky were five seconds clear at that point but I got to just over a second away from them.

"Once I could ride my race I was pretty much the fifth fastest guy on the track. I definitely had a fifth place result in me but I just had bad luck. Qualifying is what hurt our weekend and that was out of my control.

"I’m not blaming anybody but I got the short end of the stick on it. But when it went smooth and normal and I could control stuff the weekend went fine. I think we were in that fourth to sixth place area but starting so far back made it difficult.

"We go to Laguna and it was a productive weekend. We didn’t set the bar or do anything crazy but we showed that we’ve got the speed and we’ve got the consistency.

"Things sometimes just don’t go the way they should sometimes. With the bad luck we had at Jerez and Le Mans, all the other races I’ve been in the top eight pretty much all the time.

"I can’t complain and hopefully we’ll be getting some better results. For the package I’m on, I’m happy and I can’t ask for more.”

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt