Ben Spies will start the 2012 MotoGP world championship in Qatar next week with expectations of fighting for the title on Yamaha’s impressive new factory YZR-M1 1000cc machine.
Spies has been backed to emerge as a serious title threat in 2012 having been close to the pace set by reigning world champion Casey Stoner, Dani Pedrosa and factory Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo in winter testing.
Spies is confident of adding to his one MotoGP victory claimed in Assen last June and the Texan is aware that needs to be a consistent podium threat in the new 1000cc era after Yamaha demanded improved results in 2012.
Talking to MCN ahead of the first race in Qatar on April 8, the former World Superbike champion said: “I don’t have any real goals. I do have high expectations though. I’m not going to say I’m going to win two races and get five podiums.
"I’ve done that but not as much as I’d like and now we need to improve and be in that podium battle every week and fight for wins a lot more often.”
Spies said the formula for becoming a regular victory contender was simple. “I just need to ride faster. I need to be consistently fast. We have shown we have speed with Assen and Indy.
"I know the speed is there but we have to keep it there all year. There are bad tracks that I don’t like and set-ups that don’t work but we’ve got to make the best we can out of it.
"But the expectation is running at the front of the race. The guy in 10th place wants to win the races but it is all relative to what you really can do. I know we have the bike to do it, so we just have to put it together and be consistent.
"I just need to go a bit faster and be a little more confident but I feel really good on this bike. I’ve no excuses. If we don’t do then it we’re not doing our job and if we do it that’s what we are here to do,“ said the former Tech 3 Yamaha rider.
For a 16-page preview to the new MotoGP season, including analysis on the podium challengers from Loris Capirossi, see the April 4 issue of MCN.