American MotoGP riders struggled to make ground during Round 4 in Mugello. However, Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team rider Ben Spies led all Americans and got his 2010 world championship campaign back on track.
Spies finished seventh in the Italian Grand Prix motorcycle race. Colin Edwards finish 13th and Nicky Hayden took a DNF in front of the sea of red Ducati fans.
Ben Spies showed his failure to finish the previous two races had done little to dent his confidence as he made a stunning start from the third row of the grid. The 25-year-old slotted into a brilliant fourth place before he slipped back to seventh in a hectic opening few laps.
He briefly moved back into the top six with an overtake on Randy de Puniet on lap six but spent the remainder of the 23-lap encounter giving his maximum effort to try and close in on captivating battle for fourth position.
Spies brilliantly hunted down Casey Stoner, de Puniet and Marco Melandri but despite launching a persistent challenge he was never able to get sufficiently close to mount an attack.
The Texan’s morale-boosting result though moved him back into the top ten in the world championship standings on 20-points with four of the 18 rounds completed.
Ben Spies (Position: 7th – Time: +28.806) says: “The goal was top ten, so to be eighth I’m pretty happy with, especially leaving here with solid points after the disappointment of the last two races. I got a great start and felt like I rode as hard as I could and didn’t make too many mistakes but I just couldn’t quite get up close to the battle in front of me and that was a little frustrating. I found myself right on the tail of that pack with Randy, Marco and Casey but I wasn’t going to be able to pass them on the straight. It was a good race and what I needed to build my confidence and experience and now I’m looking forward to Silverstone. That’s a level playing field with nobody knowing the track, so I’ll have less of a disadvantage.”
American teammate Colin Edwards finished in a brave 13th place despite having to race in extremely difficult circumstances.
Edwards suffered a mystery fatigue issue in this morning’s warm-up session and it was obvious from the start of the race that his physical condition would prevent him from showing his true potential as he dropped from fifth to 11th.
Despite feeling well below his best, Edwards bravely rode to 13th to collect three valuable points and preserve his 100 per cent points-scoring record this season.
The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team now embarks on a new adventure when MotoGP visits the Silverstone circuit in England for the first time since 1986.
Colin Edwards (Position: 13th – Time: +1’14.393) says: “I’m really disappointed and a bit mystified because I’ve felt good all weekend and we got the bike working really well again after we switched back to the setting we had at Mugello last year. I’ve had a bit of an arm pump issue all weekend for the first time in my career and needed quite a few injections to ease that. But I was way below my best physical condition and not just because of that. All I can do is apologise to Monster Yamaha Tech 3 and I wish I knew what was going on. I’ll try and figure it out and be ready to come out fighting strong in Silverstone.”
Nicky Hayden didn’t make the best of starts from fourth on the grid and his race ended on the sixth lap when he was pushing to make up ground, running wide and sliding from his GP10 into the gravel out of the battle for a top six finish.
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Marlboro Team – DNF) says: “I screwed the start up and got beat up into turn one but I was able to make a couple of passes and thought I could fight for it. My rhythm wasn’t that good and I was just trying to make up too much time into that downhill corner. It was a rider error and it’s a bummer because it’s the team’s home race and they’ve all worked really hard. All I can say is I’m sorry – that one was on me. I’m completely okay so that’s the good thing but it still hurts. Thankfully there are still a lot of races to go.”
Claudio Domenicali (Ducati Motor Holding General Director) says: “A fourth place at Mugello is obviously not totally satisfactory for us but it was a good race nevertheless, especially at the end. Nicky didn’t make a great start and in an attempt to make up ground he went wide in one corner and crashed, but overall he showed once again that he is competitive and he confirmed that with another excellent qualifying session and by fighting in the top five in the race.”