Ben Spies targets home podium challenge

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Ben Spies is confident he will be a serious challenger for a podium finish in his vital home race at Laguna Seca this weekend.

Spies’ optimism that he can register a second MotoGP rostrum to follow up his stunning third place at Silverstone last month has been boosted by Yamaha agreeing to roll out an upgraded YZR-M1 engine for the American Grand Prix.

Spies and Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team-mate Colin Edwards will both get the upgrade having complained that the motor they’ve been campaigning in the first eight races has been way too slow.

Reigning World Superbike champion Spies though has still been able to impress with a series of storming rides in 2010.

He’s never finished lower than eighth and has been in the top six in 50 per cent of the races so far.

And the 26-year-old believes a podium challenge this weekend in California is easily within his grasp.

He said: “I know Laguna and if we don’t have bad luck and everything goes like it could go, we could get on the podium there. With all the contenders that are riding as good as they are now, it is still possible.

"It is going to be is extremely hard. My goal is to finish in the top five but I think with how everything is going and we have a great qualifying session we could see the podium there.

"The goal is to get my best results of the year in America. I’ve already been on the podium and I want to be back on it.”

Spies denied any knowledge of the specific parts he will receive in Laguna Seca but he added: “We got something coming. It won’t be nothing that will make me go ‘wow’, and I don’t think it will give us three or four tenths.

"It is not going to be a factory bike and Colin and I are on the exact same bike to clarify everything. We’ll get the same upgrade, but what we get I don’t know exactly what it will be.

"They might surprise us and give us something even more but it won’t be a factory bike.”

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt