Ben Spies on his run to take not only MotoGP Rookie of the Year (which he has already secured) but also Privateer of the Year, highsided and crashed his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha M1.
Actually, Spies was unfortunately unable to start the Grand Prix of Portugal in Estoril, after this heavy motorcycle crash on the sighting lap.
After a weekend of atrocious weather severely disrupted the practice and qualifying schedule, the MotoGP race started on a drying track in bright and sunny but blustery conditions.
It was a difficult afternoon for the American Ben Spies, who had impressed motorcycle racing fans all weekend on his first visit to the Estoril track in Portugal.
Spies was confident of a strong race despite having never completed a single lap of the track in the dry. But he crashed his motorcycle on the second of two sighting laps at turn four and was unable to start the 28-lap MotoGP event.
Spies suffered a dislocated left ankle and aggravated injuries suffered in Le Mans and Silverstone earlier in the season.
The 26-year-old Spies will now travel to Spain where he will undergo MRI scans on the ankle, though he is determined to end his outstanding MotoGP rookie campaign by participating in the final round in Valencia next weekend.
Ben Spies (Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha M1 – DNS the MotoGP – 163-points) says: “I knew the race was going to be tough because I had never turned a lap in the dry on this track. The first sighting lap was fine and on the second I just made a mistake at turn four. Aoyama and Capirossi were in front of me and they nearly did the same thing.”
Spies continues: “I just didn’t have the left side of the tire heated up enough and it spat me off. I’m frustrated because I’m sure even in the dry I could have had a fairly good race. I’ve hurt my left ankle again and it’s pretty painful right now.”
“I’ll have some more scans in Spain but my intention is to go to Valencia and race and hopefully do the test too. We’ll have to wait and see but that’s my plan right now,” explains the disappointed Spies after his MotoGP crash.
Herve Poncharal (Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha – MotoGP Team Manager) says: “I was standing on the grid when Race Direction told me that Ben had crashed at turn four and I feel really sorry for him because all weekend he’s done an incredible job.”
“He’d never seen this track and in atrocious conditions he was always one of the fastest on track. When you look at the race it is not impossible to imagine Ben being capable of fighting for the podium again. We hope he’ll be fine for Valencia and I know already that he wants to race.”