Ben Spies targets improved early race speed

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Ben Spies reckons he still needs to improve his speed on new Bridgestone tyres as his eagerly anticipated first full season in MotoGP draws closer.

Spies has impressed throughout the winter testing campaign and despite two crashes at the last test in Qatar, the Texan still managed to finish with the fourth quickest time.

But one area the 25-year-old is still keen to improve on is his pace in the early stages of a race on brand new tyres.

Spies reckons his key strength is his ability to produce fast lap times on worn tyres. And that was evident when he made his Yamaha YZR-M1 debut in Valencia last season when he produced a brilliant surge through from 12th to seventh.

He told MCN: “I’ve always felt good at the end of races and I think that is what my strong point has been.

“In Valencia I came on strong at the end and in superbike races, I feel when the tyres go off I feel a little bit better. I think on these bikes it is even more apparent when they lose that big grip they have.

“Where I struggle and need to work on is that outright speed in the first four laps. That’s more kind of what I’m working on. Certain people are comfortable getting up to speed with the way these tyres work.

“These new tyres for the first two laps don’t have that grip. They’ve kind of got that cold feeling.

“In World Superbikes on the Pirelli’s, the best laps of those tyres are the first three. You go into turn one on lap one with your knee down pinned. But you can’t quite do that.

“If you go into the first lap like you’re qualifying you’re going to be seeing Mars. It’s finding out how to get up to speed quite quickly.”

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt