Posts Tagged ‘Ben Spies’

Lorenzo takes his first Aragon Grand Prix podium

September 18th, 2011 No comments

Yamaha Factory Racing rider Jorge Lorenzo made the weekend’s hard work count today, taking his first-ever Aragon Grand Prix podium with third place. Having dropped from fourth on the grid in the early laps, the reigning World Champion gradually picked up the pace, running well under his qualifying time to gradually reel in the front runners. By lap 10 he had caught teammate Ben Spies and Marco Simoncelli, passing them both to take third, which he held to the line. The results mean the gap to Championship leader Stoner has now increased again to 44 with four races remaining of the season.

Fellow Yamaha Factory Racing rider Spies had probably his best start of the season so far, shooting off the line to outride both Stoner and Dani Pedrosa for the lead into turn one. Having then dropped to third the Texan was maintaining a gap to fourth, scoring the third fastest lap of the race on lap four with a 1’49.593. A dramatic drop off in grip on the sixth lap then affected his pace. He was passed by team mate Lorenzo and then Simoncelli, dropping to fifth place. The result sees Spies retain fifth in the Championship standings, now 24 points behind Pedrosa in fourth as they head to Motegi next week.

Jorge Lorenzo, 2nd, +14.209:
“We struggled a lot from the beginning of the race, losing positions and having to recover step by step. We couldn’t get more than a podium; that is the best result we could get today! I didn’t have confidence in the rear and it is impossible to catch Dani on this track. It’s a pity, but at least I got the podium I couldn’t get last year. We are still fighting for the Championship and that’s the most important thing, we are going to Japan with hope still alive.”

Ben Spies, 5th, +27.739:
“I knew the start wasn’t going to last long the way Casey and Dani were riding but I felt pretty good in the beginning. Even when we got to the fourth or fifth lap I thought our advantage to fourth place was growing. I felt really comfortable and thought we had a podium fight in us. Then the sixth or seventh lap the tyre just made a huge drop and just kept going down. Usually they make one drop then stay consistent. I had no confidence in the rear and no grip. I’m frustrated as before that we were riding well and the bike was working great.”

Wilco Zeelenberg, Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager:
“For Jorge P3 was maximum damage control so we are happy with the result today. This morning we discussed that this was the maximum possible. Finally in the race he was going half a second faster than in qualifying which is pretty good so he must be happy to be on the podium. I’m sorry for Ben, tyre drop off means you can’t do anything; luckily we didn’t have that problem. We had a lack of grip in the beginning and couldn’t do 49s but were very consistent on low 50s which is the only reason we were able to finish in third place. The team worked really hard all weekend to deliver the best possible set up for Jorge, so a big thank you to them.”

Massimo Meregalli, Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director:
“The drop in temperature this afternoon probably compromised the work we’ve done up to this morning in set up. Ben really couldn’t do more because the rear tire was really bad after just a few laps. Jorge achieved the best result possible, I think he did good job and thinking about the final championship standings, third place is still a good result. For sure it doesn’t make it so easy but we’ll keep going to the end.”

Lorenzo claims Misano victory for Yamaha

September 5th, 2011 No comments

Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo put on a perfect performance yesterday at the Grand Prix of San Marino, leading from the start to claim an incredible race victory. The reigning world champion was quick off the line from second position, securing the front spot from championship leader Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner into the first corner. As the Australian put the pressure on, Lorenzo responded, delivering an untouchable pace to gradually increase his lead. His flawless performance also delivered the new track record for the circuit on his 12th lap with a 1’33.906. Lorenzo was joined on the podium by legendary Yamaha rider, three-time world champion Wayne Rainey, to accept the trophies. Rainey had made an emotional return to Misano this weekend for the first time in 18 years as part of Yamaha’s 50th Anniversary of Grand Prix racing.

Ben Spies worked hard as well, battling the hot and humid conditions with a less-than-perfect set up. Having started form fourth, the Texan initially dropped to seventh before slowly reeling in and passing local hero Marlboro Ducati’s Valentino Rossi. Having dispatched the Italian, the hunt began for fifth and sixth place riders Simoncelli and Dovizioso. Spies was able to close the gap to less than 0.2 of a second, but the battling Italians made it impossible to make a clean pass, finishing in sixth position.

Lorenzo’s stunning performance keeps the championship alive, reducing the gap to Stoner in first to 35 points with five races remaining on the calendar. Spies picked up 10 points and holds fifth as they head to Aragon in Spain for round 14 in two weeks time.

Jorge Lorenzo, 1st:
“Today has been an incredible day for us. I have delivered a good race; it was a very tough and long one. Most importantly we have won again and also reduced a little bit our gap to Casey. I want to dedicate this victory to Wayne who returned to Misano this weekend and I want to say thanks to all my team for their hard work. Now we have two weeks before Aragon, I hope to continue in this shape in my country. Tomorrow we will try the 1000cc Yamaha again; I am looking forward to riding my future bike. This has been one of the best days of my career!”

Ben Spies, 4th:
“We started out with an OK set up but we didn’t really go forward all weekend, struggling a lot with edge grip. I wasn’t having a great feeling with the front either so we tried something new in warm up this morning which was honestly a disaster. We changed the front end of the bike dramatically before the race which proved to be good but took a few laps to get confidence in as it was such a big change. Once I got around Rossi I got more comfortable and was able to get to the back of Dovi and Simoncelli but was still struggling with edge grip and couldn’t get close enough to strike. I tried as hard as I could but just didn’t translate into top five this time. I need to say thanks to the team for all their hard work trying to solve the issues this weekend.”

Wilco Zeelenberg, Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager:
“It’s a very great feeling to win again. I think Jorge rode a fantastic race, the bike looked really good and consistent over the whole race. He was pushing it to the limit but he knew he would have to do that to still have a chance at the Championship. Now we can start thinking about the last races being 35 points behind instead of more. It was good that Dani came in between to give us some extra bonus points. We need to keep on winning now!”

Massimo Meregalli, Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director:
“A brilliant victory today, Jorge ran an unbeatable pace; this is the best possible finish to the weekend. Unfortunately we couldn’t find a really good set up for Ben here at Misano. He got good points finishing sixth which are important for the Championship. We’ll go away now and look at the data to make sure we come back fighting in Aragon in two weeks time. I have to thank the whole team who have worked extremely hard in really hot conditions here to do the best they can for both riders.”

2011 MotoGP San Marino
Misano, San Marino 04/09/2011
1 Jorge Lorenzo         Yamaha  ESP     44'11.877
2 Daniel Pedrosa        Honda   ESP     0'07.299
3 Casey Stoner          Honda   AUS     0'11.967
4 Marco Simoncelli      Honda   ITA     0'17.353
5 Andrea Dovizioso      Honda   ITA     0'17.390
6 Ben Spies             Yamaha  USA     0'18.092
7 Valentino Rossi       Ducati  ITA     0'23.703
8 Alvaro Bautista       Suzuki  ESP     0'30.678
9 Hector Barbera        Ducati  ESP     0'37.502
10 Cal Crutchlow        Yamaha  GBR     0'37.720
11 Hiroshi Aoyama       Honda   JPN     0'39.548
12 Karel Abraham        Ducati  CZE     0'40.506
13 Colin Edwards        Yamaha  USA     0'53.349
14 Randy De Puniet      Ducati  FRA     1'02.366
15 Toni Elias           Honda   ESP     1'20.156

Ben Spies podiums at Indy

August 29th, 2011 No comments

Factory Yamaha rider Ben Spies put in a superhuman effort yesterday, coming back from ninth place to take a hard-fought podium spot at the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix. Starting from second on the grid, the Texas rider was caught up in first a bottle neck of riders in turn one, then came together with Andrea Dovizioso in turn four, dropping him back to ninth as he fought to stay on the bike. Despite the setback, Spies went on to deliver one of the star performances of the day, taking an impressive number of overtakes and setting some of the fastest laps of the race. He finally took the checkered flag in third place and stood on the podium to a huge applause from the US crowd.

Teammate Jorge Lorenzo’s race was a battle not with his competitors but with the resurfaced Indianapolis track. The reigning World Champion continued to be plagued with a rapidly wearing front tire causing critical control issues from as early as lap four. Lorenzo battled on regardless, having made a great start, he eventually had to relinquish position to teammate Spies and crossed the line in fourth, pushing to stay ahead of Dovizioso to the line.

The results of yesterday’s race see Lorenzo’s gap to Casey Stoner in first extended to 44 points with six races remaining. Teammate Spies picks up 16 points, moving up to fifth in the standings, just five points behind Dani Pedrosa in fourth. The team now head across the Atlantic with no break to the GP Aperol di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini at Misano next weekend.

Ben Spies, 3rd, +10.603
“My actual start wasn’t too bad, just a couple of people got into turn one too hot and I got bottled in. I think Dovi came across in front of me in turn four and I was just glad to stay on the bike. I never even saw him. After that happened we just had to pluck away and not get ahead of ourselves. We rode well but just needed to be up there in the first four turns. I rode as fast as I could; it was tough to pass out there as we couldn’t get it done on the straight so we had to figure out some different spots. I was happy to be able to do that and still run good pace at the end.”

Jorge Lorenzo, 4th, +16.576
“It’s a shame; I thought I could reduce my gap with Casey at Indy but since the first practice I have had many problems with the asphalt and the front tire. I’ve tried everything with my team to fix it, but we couldn’t. After four or five laps the front tire was destroyed. I saw the other three front riders and their tires were perfect. I don’t know if it was because of the track and I’m not the only one complaining. Now the Championship is much more complicated, but hope is the last thing you can lose. Next weekend we ride again at Misano, I looking forward to forgetting this result.”

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Ben Spies second-fastest at Indy

August 27th, 2011 No comments

Ben Spies held the fastest time for most of the day before being bested by Casey Stoner late in the session

Yamaha Factory Racing rider Ben Spies got straight down to business at Indianapolis Motor Speedway yesterday in the first free practice sessions of the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix weekend. The Texan delivered an impressive performance in front of his home crowd, topping the timesheets in the morning session with a 1’43.260. The afternoon session saw the grip levels improve dramatically, allowing Spies to take nearly two and a half seconds off his time and record a best of 1’40.918. He led for the majority of the session, only dropping to second at the end, a mere 0.194” from provisional pole.

Jorge Lorenzo had a difficult start to the day along with the majority of the MotoGP grid, struggling to find grip on the newly resurfaced Indianapolis track. The 125cc and Moto2 classes helped to increase the grip level over the lunchtime period and some key set up changes by the team brought the World Champion out fighting in the second session. Lorenzo was straight up into the top three and was the only rider to contest the fastest spot with his teammate for most of the session. He ended the second session in fourth position, 0.737” from the front.

Ben Spies, 2nd, 1.40.918, 29 laps
“I feel a lot better now, almost ok but when I’m off the bike I’m more in pain which is frustrating. It was a good start today, the first session I was waiting to see if the track was going to stay the same but in the end in the afternoon it improved a lot. We were able to be in the top three in both sessions which is great. The track is going to get even better for tomorrow so we’re looking forward to making another step forward and seeing what we can do.”

Jorge Lorenzo, 4th, 1.41.461, 27 laps
“I started today struggling with the new asphalt. The morning was not good, but FP2 was much better and my feeling was really good. I’ve got grip on the rear now but I still have some problems with the front. I think we can still improve a lot in some parts. Ben is riding very, very well and it means I can be closer. I will try tomorrow to be at the same level as him.”

Wilco Zeelenberg, Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager
“The second free practice was a big jump from the morning with much more grip available. We made some small changes and Jorge felt a lot better on the bike. The tires are going down quite quickly as there is still a lot of dirt on the track so we need to find a way to ensure we can finish the race with enough grip. We compared two different set ups, one was clearly better so for tomorrow we know our direction. For today we are happy with the improvements we have made.”

Massimo Meregalli, Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director
“It’s definitely a good start today and the circuit conditions are improving. The bike behaviour is good so we are working to finalise the bike set up for Ben, overall he is happy so far. He still has a small issue with his arm but hopefully he will be OK for Sunday as he is proving that he can do a good job here. Jorge made a good improvement from the morning, the team found the right way to improve the bike. Tomorrow they will make another step, and on Sunday I fully expect he will be up there.”

Tough battle for Yamaha at Brno

August 14th, 2011 No comments

Yamaha Factory Racing riders Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies secured fourth and fifth places respectively today in a tough battle for the Grand Prix of Czech Republic. Defending world champion Lorenzo made a great start from second place on the grid, taking the lead on the first lap and holding off his rivals until a small mistake dropped him to third. As race leader Dani Pedrosa crashed out he was promoted to second, but having opted for a softer front tire than the rest of the grid, the Mallorcan struggled to maintain his pace, eventually succumbing a couple of places to finish fourth at the line. Despite his lack of grip, he started to close back in on third placed rider Marco Simoncelli in the final laps and was less than a second behind at the checkered flag.

Ben Spies put in a valiant effort this afternoon, holding a strong pace for the duration of the race despite being in less-than-perfect condition. He continued to be hampered by physical issues with a numb arm resulting from a trapped nerve in his neck. Having lost one position off the start to fifth, he held that for the 22-lap race, gradually closing in on his teammate Lorenzo in front, finishing just 1.5 seconds behind him.

Lorenzo heads to the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix in the USA in two weeks time holding second in the Championship, trailing leader Casey Stoner by 32 points. Teammate Spies retains his position of sixth in the Championship standings, now nine points behind Valentino Rossi in fourth and just one point behind Pedrosa in fifth.

Jorge Lorenzo, 4th, +8.513:
“The front tire we chose was not the best option today. We tried it in qualifying and yesterday morning and it gave me a really good feeling and very constant pace. Today with the different conditions and temperature it was not working. From the beginning of the second lap I was really close to losing my front in every corner so it was difficult to improve on fourth position. The Championship is now even more difficult for us but that doesn’t mean it is finished. There are still a lot of points to be played for so we must focus on winning the most races we can. Now we must forget this race which is probably one of the worst this season and possibly in my MotoGP career, I am excited to try the 1000 bike and improvements to the current 800 engine tomorrow as well.”

Ben Spies, 5th, +10.186:
“That was a hard race; I wanted to quit every lap past the ninth. I tried as hard as I could and didn’t make too many mistakes. I just thought with Valentino coming behind me and being ahead in the Championship I’ve just got to keep on going until I fall of this thing. I didn’t fall off and I finished so it was a good result. Now it’s the complete opposite, it’s my right arm that’s completely dead because that’s all that was working in the race. Again I’ve got to thank the team; the bike was really good and definitely a podium bike. I’ve also got to thank the Clinica guys; I’ve never been in there so much, every day. That was the hardest physical race I’ve ever done. We got it finished, put it behind us and we scored some points.”

Wilco Zeelenberg, Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager:
“We expected a lot from this weekend because Casey was struggling and Jorge felt really good after qualifying. We decided to go with the softer option front tyre which felt really good yesterday but was not the right choice. In the race it gave the opposite results, he couldn’t do the 1’57 lap times. It’s very strange but that’s the reality, Jorge was struggling to stop and lean the bike. Let’s look forward; we are 32 points behind so we have to catch up. Indy is very soon and we have seven races to go so we don’t give up.”

Massimo Meregalli, Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director:
“I was surprised by Ben’s result, he was worried at the beginning of the race, and especially after warm up he didn’t think he could do more than 12 or 13 laps pushing. He did a great job; we knew it wouldn’t be easy. He pushed hard and consolidated his position. Unfortunately Jorge couldn’t do what we expected. Anyway there are still some more races to come and we will be ready for the next one.”

Yamaha Factory Racing Free Practice Results: Brno

August 12th, 2011 No comments

As the short summer break comes to an end ,the MotoGP paddock got back to business today in Brno with the first and second free practice sessions of the Cardion AB Grand Prix Ceské Republiky.

Yamaha Factory Racing riders Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies blew off the cobwebs after their holidays and spent the morning and afternoon sessions making the first steps in setup for the Brno circuit. World Champion Lorenzo and his crew were focused on improving the stopping ability and turning ability going into corners over the two sessions. He finished the morning session in fourth, 1.259 seconds from first, and improved in the afternoon, remaining fourth but reducing the gap to first to 0.720 seconds.

Spies performance echoed his Factory Yamaha teammate, finishing the morning session in sixth, 1.575 seconds from first, and improving in the afternoon. He retained sixth position but reduced the gap to first to 1.177 seconds. The Texan rider’s performance was hampered by a numbness in his left arm caused by a trapped nerve in his neck which is being treated by Clinica Mobile after each session.

Jorge Lorenzo, 4th, 1’57.174, 27 laps:
“Today’s sessions have not been exactly as we expected. We are struggling a bit on braking, and we lose too much time over the lap. Tomorrow we will work hard to improve the bike in the morning to be ready for qualifying because at this moment we are pretty far from the front.”

Ben Spies, 6th, 1’57.631, 31 laps:
“It was an OK day for us; I’m actually pretty happy with the results. I’ve got a little bit of a pinched nerve in my neck, and I’m struggling a little bit on the bike, but I’m still giving it 100 percent. Lap times aren’t too bad; I’m just not able to put too many laps together in a row. We’re going to do a lot of physio over the next couple of days to get it where it’s comfortable for the race, and I’m pretty optimistic about how we can turn things around for Sunday.”

Wilco Zeelenberg, Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager:
“The afternoon free practice went a bit better than the morning, but still we are lacking a bit of confidence in the front. It’s difficult to say why but it looks like a lack of grip over the front. Turning ability has improved a bit but not enough from the morning so we need another step for the next session. For tomorrow we need to find a clearer direction to improve. P4 is not so bad to start but we have three bikes in front of us and some work to do.”

Massimo Meregalli, Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director:
“The bike set up is working quite well for Ben at the moment but he has a problem with his left arm which is preventing him from pushing hard. Apart from this he is reasonably happy with the tires and set up and progress. He is going to have some therapy tonight and tomorrow with the Clinica Mobile and we will see how much he can push on Sunday. Jorge has made a good start to the weekend, but is still looking to resolve some front end issues to improve his set up for Sunday.”

Lorenzo battles to second at Laguna Seca

July 25th, 2011 No comments

Defending MotoGP world champion Jorge Lorenzo put in a superhuman effort under the California sun yesterday at the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix at Laguna Seca, battling for victory with championship rival Casey Stoner to finish second on the podium. Lorenzo made a strong start from pole and led the GP field for an impressive 26 lap run before conceding to Stoner as the effects of yesterday’s massive crash took its toll on his energy levels.

Fellow Yamaha Factory Racing rider Ben Spies had a less-than-perfect start from the grid, initially dropping to seventh behind Valentino Rossi on the first laps of the race. Rossi was eventually dispatched by the Texan on lap three, freeing him to focus on Dovizioso ahead. Spies put in an incredible ride to close a gap of over five seconds and take fourth with just three laps to go.

The weekend’s results leave Lorenzo heading into the short holiday break trailing Championship leader Stoner by 20 points. Teammate Spies will arrive at Brno still in sixth place in the standings but now just 12 points behind Dani Pedrosa in fourth.

Jorge Lorenzo, 2nd, +5.634
“Well first of all I’m lucky to be in the second position, after the crash yesterday I thought it wasn’t possible to race for a little while. After qualifying I hoped I might be able to fight till the end for victory but sometimes expectations are not reality. Casey was faster today, I couldn’t match his pace at the end. My physical condition is not so perfect which makes us a bit slow as well. Second is ok, we are only 20 points behind Casey and we’ll try again next time.”

Ben Spies, 4th, +20.562
“I got a really good start but going uphill to the steep part of the track basically we didn’t have enough power. I got stuck behind Valentino, I tried to get around as quick as I could but he’s really good on the brakes so it was pretty tough but I did the best I could. Once we got around him it was quite a big gap to Dovizioso but I just kept my head down and kept going. I’m happy we were able to track him down and get fourth. It was a really good race for us it just got spoilt in the first five hundred feet. I would have liked to have been on the podium as I think we had a package to fight with Dani, I guess that’s racing and I gave it 100% as always.”

Wilco Zeelenberg, Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager
“A spectacular race by Jorge with a great 20 points secured. It is obvious we wanted to win this one but I think yesterday’s crash gave us not the best physical condition for a 32 lap race. At the end of the day, to take 20 points after a crash like that is not so bad. We’ll take some rest now and head to Brno recovered and in fighting form ready to challenge Casey again.”

Massimo Meregalli, Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director
“We leave here with some good points; second position is the best that Jorge could achieve considering his condition, which is very important for the Championship. Unfortunately Ben lost too much time behind Valentino, then when he was able to pass him there was already a big gap to the front guys. He did really well and caught Dovizioso to finish fourth which is good for him and for his standings. We’re looking forward to the next one already in Brno, the team have worked really hard this weekend and it’s been a special time to celebrate our 50th anniversary of Grand Prix racing with everybody here at Laguna.”

Yamaha prepare to celebrate 50th anniversary of Grand Prix racing at Laguna Seca

July 20th, 2011 No comments

The iconic Laguna Seca circuit in California prepares to welcome the MotoGP paddock this weekend for the first of the two US rounds on the 2011 season. The event will be a special one for Yamaha Factory Racing; the team will again wear the special red and white YZR-M1 WGP50th Anniversary Edition livery as seen at the Assen TT where Ben Spies stormed to his first ever GP victory.

Can Ben Spies turn his three Laguna Seca AMA wins into a similar MotoGP result?

Last year saw Jorge Lorenzo triumph from a pole position start to take his first Laguna Seca MotoGP race win, his sixth victory and fifth pole of his 2010 season dominance. Teammate Spies is a three time AMA race winner at Laguna and scored an impressive sixth place finish in his MotoGP rookie visit last year. Having won last time out in the red and white colors confidence is high for more success on home ground for the local hero.

Situated amongst the hills just a couple of hours from San Francisco, the Laguna Seca circuit claims jaw dropping elevation changes and possibly the most famous corner in the racing world, the infamous ‘corkscrew’. Weather can be unpredictable with cold misty mornings followed by dry hot days providing exciting racing for the American fans.

Jorge Lorenzo
“We are very strong at the moment with a great result at both Mugello and Sachsenring; we will try to continue to reduce our gap to Casey. I have had great moments in Laguna; above all last year when I won, but also in 2009 when I got pole position even with a big crash and at the end got a podium. Laguna is amazing; for the American style and atmosphere, but above all because of the corkscrew. I think maybe it is the best corner in the Championship, the place everybody wants to meet. I am looking forward to being back on my M1 there, riding to fight for the title.”

Ben Spies
“It’s always exciting to race in front of the home crowd, and it’s going to be a big event for Yamaha with the 50th anniversary colors being run again. They were lucky for me at Assen and hopefully they can bring me more luck in front of my friends and family. I’ve had some pretty good results in my AMA days at Laguna, and I love riding the circuit. It’s going to be a serious race weekend but it’s also going to be a lot of fun so I’m looking forward to seeing a lot of old faces at the track.”

Wilco Zeelenberg – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager
“Laguna was a very nice event last year when Jorge won after a great race. We will have a big break afterwards so it is a very important moment in the season with ten races completed. Jorge really enjoys Laguna and it’s a home circuit for Ben so I think our guys will be able to do a good job. The whole crew are looking forward to getting out to California.”

Massimo Meregalli – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director
“I’ve been waiting for Laguna for ten years. I’m really excited about going there. As usual we are confident, especially after the strong results of the last three races. Jorge did a great job there last year and it is Ben’s home track so we have to be optimistic of a good performance by both riders.”

Jorge Lorenzo
Age: 24
Lives: Barcelona, Spain
Bike: Yamaha
GP victories: 37 (17 x MotoGP, 17 x 250cc, 4 x 125cc)
First GP victory: Brazil, 2003 (125cc)
First GP: Jerez, Spain, 2002 (125cc)
GP starts: 155 (60 x MotoGP, 48 x 250cc, 46 x 125cc)
Pole positions: 43 (16 x MotoGP, 23 x 250cc, 3 x 125cc)
World Championships: 3 (MotoGP 2010, 250cc, 2006/7)

Ben Spies
Age: 26
Lives: Longview Texas / Lake Como Italy
Bike: Yamaha
GP victories: 1
First GP victory: Assen, Netherlands, 2011
First GP: Donington, UK, 2008 (MotoGP)
GP starts: 30
Pole positions: 1
World Championships: 1 (WSB 2009)

Grand Prix Results: Laguna Seca 2010
1. J. Lorenzo, Yamaha, 43’54.873
2. C. Stoner, Ducati, +3.517
3. V. Rossi, Yamaha, +13.420
6. Ben Spies, Yamaha, +19.037

Laguna Seca Record Lap
C. Stoner (Ducati) 2008, 1’21.488

Laguna Seca Best Lap
C. Stoner (Ducati) 2008, 1’20.700

Ben Spies earn first MotoGP victory in Assen

June 26th, 2011 No comments

Texan Ben Spies chose to kick off Yamaha’s 50th Anniversary of Grand Prix Racing in style yesterday, delivering a flawless performance at the Assen TT to claim his first-ever MotoGP race win. Spies had been on form all weekend delivering a consistently fast race pace in all sessions whether wet or dry and was been beaten to pole by a mere 0.009 seconds by Marco Simoncelli. A great start saw him leading the race from the first corner, quickly building a sizeable gap to Casey Stoner in chase, which he held and extended to over 7.6 seconds by the checkered flag. The victory was all the sweeter for being delivered riding in the special red and white livery used this weekend to mark the anniversary celebrations.

Teammate Jorge Lorenzo delivered a true champion’s performance after being cause to crash on the first lap by Marco Simoncelli. Lorenzo quickly remounted and charged from the back of the pack through to claim an impressive sixth place finish and salvage valuable championship points from the unfortunate incident.

As a result of his performance Spies jumps to seventh in the championship standings, tying Dani Pedrosa with 61 points in sixth and just 10 points behind Nicky Hayden in fifth. Lorenzo adds 10 points to his championship tally and heads to Mugello next week with 108, 28 points behind leader Casey Stoner.

Ben Spies, Position 1st, Time 41.44.659:
“It was a strange race today as it was one of the most comfortable races we had and it resulted in a win. I saw the Simoncelli crash on the TV screen in the corner of my eye so I knew about it. I had a good feeling in the bike in the first couple of laps and had to push as much as I could to get a gap. When Casey was pushing back I still had a few tenths if I needed to, we could always match the pace. To do it this weekend with the 50th colors gives a little bit of pressure but it came out good. I was racing as hard as I could, I have to thank my guys; they gave me a great bike today. At least we’ve won a race now.”

Jorge Lorenzo, Position 6th, Time +44.536:
“Of course Simoncelli doesn’t want to throw me off the track, that wasn’t his intention but I think he is not very conscious about the risks in this class with these tires. I thought he learnt from the past and the polemic he created with Dani but it’s clear he hasn’t learnt. The good thing is that we finished in sixth and took some points. I was fast with a good pace. The championship is now more difficult so we have to go all out to win races and go fast. We are making changes to the bike that are making it better with stability to brake harder and deeper so I think we can go to Mugello and be more competitive like Ben demonstrated today. I want to say a big congratulations to him for his first GP win and also thank you to all my guys who again worked really hard all weekend to give me a competitive bike.”

Wilco Zeelenberg, Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager:
“A very tough race, mixed feelings here as we are very disappointed by the action with Simoncelli, It was a racing accident but pretty stupid. I’m happy for Ben that we were able to win here for the 50th Anniversary race. It’s good to see we are able to win and it was also good to see Jorge picked up quickly and was able to do very good lap times so we know the speed was there. I know we would have been able to fight for the podium. I have to congratulate Ben he did a great job this weekend and I feel sorry for Jorge as he didn’t deserve this result.”

Massimo Meregalli, Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director:
“Ben rode a really fantastic race today, we are very proud and I don’t think his first GP win could have been more perfect. He was consistently fast all weekend and we were confident that he would deliver a really strong performance today. It’s even more special to have won here whilst celebrating our 50th Anniversary of Grand Prix racing. I have to say his crew worked extremely hard all weekend and made sure he had a bike that he could win on. I’m very disappointed for Jorge, it was clear the crash was not his fault. He showed his true colors as a world class racer with the way he rode following the incident. We leave Assen with a day of highs and lows and head to Mugello with even more confidence that we have made another step in our package and can challenge for more victories.”

Yamaha MotoGP free practice report: Assen

June 23rd, 2011 No comments

The Assen TT got underway today in The Netherlands with riders enduring much the same weather conditions as the previous round at Silverstone. The first free practice session of the weekend was run in wet conditions this morning with steady rain throughout. Yamaha Factory Racing riders Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies were riding for the first time with the special YZR-M1 WGP50th Anniversary Edition red and white livery. Both took the opportunity to find their feet again following their crashes in the treacherous Silverstone conditions two weeks ago.

Having made a promising start and found a comfortable set up to focus on the riders were denied the opportunity to continue this afternoon. The track was closed for the day and the second session cancelled after oil was spilt along approximately a one kilometer section of the Assen circuit during the Moto2 practice session. As a result tomorrow morning’s final free practice will be an extended 90-minute session.

Ben Spies:
“We rode some laps this morning and we learned some good information for wet conditions should they stay like this at the weekend. Unfortunately some Moto2 riders dropped some oil which the track couldn’t clear in time for the second free practice. We only managed 12 laps in total but it was enough to see how it feels in the wet. It’s a special moment to be here for us with our new livery celebrating the 50th Anniversary so it’s really important to get a good result. We’ll do the best we can as always.”

Wilco Zeelenberg, Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager:
“The first practice in Assen and typically Assen weather. Jorge needed to find his way through the wet after the crash in Silverstone but I have to say his confidence grew pretty quickly. Position five was good at the end and the bike felt good for him. The track was a bit slippery, especially corner entry which is a bit strange as Assen is a normally a grippe track. It’s much more used by cars than before which may be the reason. It’s a pity that the afternoon session was cancelled but we only had three sessions last year here as well. Hopefully we get at least one dry session tomorrow and we hope race day is dry for the fans as well.”

Massimo Meregalli, Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director:
“Unfortunately the weather didn’t help us today but Ben got back his confidence after the Silverstone race which was really important for us. We have some additional time in the morning free practice now so we’ll work on it. I’m confident we will deliver a good package for Ben and Jorge to be ready for the afternoon’s qualifying session. It’s great to see the bikes and team out in the red and white livery, we are all very proud to be part of this special time.”