Ben Spies made a good job of silencing any critics he may have today as he set about putting his mark on the GP field ahead of his racing year in 2010. Starting from ninth on the grid he had a good start to hold his position until Marco Melandri passed him towards the end of the first lap. As he got used to his race tires and settled into his pace he dropped further until lap eight where he held 12th behind Andrea Dovizioso. As lap 11 got under way the American wildcard tucked in and got down to business, taking Melandri for 11th and beginning to chase down Mika Kallio. He caught him on lap 17 to take 10th then swiftly dispatched De Angelis on the next lap for ninth.
By lap 19 Spies was turning in a 1’34.1 second lap, quick enough to be running with Colin Edwards in fourth. The speed enabled him to catch Randy De Puniet by lap 21 for eighth and close in on Dovizioso in seventh. With six laps to go, he capitalized on a mistake as the Repsol Honda rider ran wide, passing on the inside to take seventh and hold it to the line, claiming his first top ten MotoGP race finish for Yamaha.
Ben Spies Speaks… (7th, +37.706)
"It was a good day. We got a good start which something I didn’t think was going to happen. For the first six or seven laps I wasn’t really on it, I wasn’t used to the way the tires come in so I was halfway taking it easy and halfway getting pushed around because I didn’t want to do anything silly. Once we got into a rhythm I got to follow some people and it was ok, then I slowly started to pass some people and got my eyes set on the guys in front. Once I got passed Dovizioso I could see Nicky Hayden and Tony Elias up ahead. I knew I wasn’t going to catch them but I tried to keep my pace going and was able to keep it steady. It’s been a dream first weekend for us, to get seventh on a track I don’t particularly favour is pretty cool, the feeling is the same as winning a superbike race. I’m happy we’ve kept the bike off the ground and made solid progress all weekend which was our number one goal. I just want to thank Yamaha for giving me this opportunity, and all the sponsors that helped put this together for the weekend, especially Sterilgarda, BM Group, Fimer, Parts Europe and everybody else who made it possible to get this thing going, I think we did a good job for them."
Massimo Meregalli Speaks… Sterilgarda Yamaha Team Manager
"Another impressive weekend from Ben. He improved steadily in all the sessions, we knew this morning that he would finish the race higher than he started. I think soon he’ll pick up full confidence in the bike and tires and in time will reach his full potential on the track. I’m pretty sure that next week he’ll improve some more and get closer to the pace. I know he’s a very clever rider and he’s going to achieve his goals in MotoGP. I too want to thank all the sponsors who made it possible for us to come and race here this weekend, Sterilgarda, BM Group, Fimer, Parts Europe and everyone else have been brilliant."