Ben Spies could have handled factory Yamaha switch

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Ben Spies could have handled the pressure of being promoted to Yamaha’s factory MotoGP squad as cover for injured star Valentino Rossi.

The Texan will find himself in the Fiat squad in 2011 if intense speculation linking Rossi with a big money move to Ducati becomes reality.

But he won’t be given chance to get an earlier than expected opportunity to impress on Rossi’s vacant YZR-M1 machine with the Italian sidelined until at least the middle of August.

Rossi’s crew chief Jerry Burgess reckons Spies could have handled the spotlight with the chance to ride Rossi’s bike inevitably increasing the pressure on the reigning World Superbike champion. 

“I think Ben could have handled it but I don’t think it was necessary. He’s in a team with essentially the same bike as Valentino and he’s in an environment and atmosphere that he’s understood since the start of testing.

"It wouldn’t be beneficial in anyway to come over to the factory team. I think it wouldn’t change very much if he did or he didn't," said Burgess.

Japanese test rider Wataru Yoshikawa will replace Rossi from this weekend’s Catalunya race onwards, with the reigning world champion targeting a return in Brno on August 15.

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt