Ben Spies came within inches of claiming a slice of history for himself when he suffered a last gasp defeat to 2011 world champion Casey Stoner in the final race of the 800cc in Valencia yesterday (Sunday).
Spies looked certain to claim only his second MotoGP victory in tricky conditions when he started the final lap almost 0.4s clear of Stoner’s Repsol Honda RC212V.
The Texan, who took his first win in Assen in late June, came out of the last corner in the lead but in the drag to the line he was outgunned by Aussie Stoner, who took his 10th win of the season by the narrowest of margins.
The factory Yamaha rider though was still upbeat having missed the last two races through injury and he said: "It was unfortunate but the way the conditions were it was really hectic and nerve wracking. I got behind Dovi and Dani and I knew they had their championship battle going on and at that point I couldn’t even see Casey anymore, so I just decided to wait and see what happened with those two. I was waiting for some fireworks and when there were some I had to capitalise on it and try and move forward.
"I made some good passes and then all of a sudden some rain starting coming down and I felt comfortable and the next thing Casey was right in front of us. He made a small mistake when he hit neutral and that put me in the lead but the last couple of laps were really tough because there was no benchmark to see how slick it was and what pace you could run without sliding around. At that point I wanted to win the race but I also wanted to keep it on the podium and not end up on the ground again like every session for the last month. I put together a decent last lap and didn’t take any risks to stay consistent but I got motored to the line. But we ended the season on a high note and I am happy with that.”
For more news and reaction from the final round of 2011, see Wednesday’s issue of Motor Cycle News.