US MotoGP: Ben Spies rues late qualifying crash

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Ben Spies saw his hopes of starting his home race at Laguna Seca later today from pole position ruined by a late crash in qualifying.

Spies briefly held top spot to the delight of a large and patriotic Californian crowd when he was bumped down to second by factory Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo.

Trying to snatch back pole position though the Assen MotoGP winner crashed out at Turn 3 with just five minutes remaining.

Spies was unhurt but his hopes of adding to his pole position in Indianapolis last season were over.

The 2009 World Superbike champion said: “I left some talent somewhere before I got there. It was my mistake in the end but I’m allowed to do that I guess. (Alvaro) Bautista had crashed earlier there and he was just on the same part of the track as me in the last ten minutes and he wanted a tow. I didn’t’ really want to help anybody out, so there was a little bit of games being played and I think I just let the front tyre cool down a little bit too much. I took off on my fast lap and the grip wasn’t there and I locked up the front and down I went. We still got fourth and we’re on a good starting position and the bike’s working fairly well.”

Favourite for the 32-lap race is team-mate Jorge Lorenzo, who shrugged off a huge crash in the final practice session to grab only his second pole position of the campaign and his first since round three in Portugal.

Spies said he doubts being able to run the Spaniard’s pace in the race and he added: “Not really right now. He’s riding really good. If you ask him this is one of his favourite tracks and he’s already a really good rider. You put him on a favourite track he’s going to haul ass. He’s going really good right now, but we made a change at the end we think we might be able to race with and the bike works really well on it and I’m a lot happier with it.”

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt