Ben Spies delighted with factory Yamaha debut
Ben Spies made a brilliant factory Yamaha debut in Valencia today, the Texan clocking the third fastest time on the new 2011 YZR-M1 machine.
The 26-year-old, who finished Rookie of the Year in 2010 and top non-factory rider, set a best time of 1.32.878 in a 42-lap stint to finish just over a tenth away from Casey Stoner.
He was 0.866s behind impressive team-mate and new world champion Jorge Lorenzo but the 2009 World Superbike champion said: “I kind of felt like royalty or something being in the factory team. It is a little different but there are a lot of changes.
“Even with the bike it is very similar to what I raced last year but with a lot of subtle changes and a lot of changes with the crew. For the first day I’m happy. I didn’t do anything too crazy. I got comfortable and got used to some differences with the bike and I was pretty quick for most of the day too.”
Spies lapped 0.5s faster than he managed when finishing fourth in Sunday’s Valencia Grand Prix and he explained where he slashed his time by adding: “The initial braking, the turning and more side grip helped me.
“The bike just seems to work a little bit better in every way and being on the factory bike I can say that now being on it, its not like you jump on it and go faster than Jorge. It is not like that but it is definitely the overall package is that bit better in every way.”