MotoGP Valencia Test: Spies Day 1 Report


Factory Yamaha Valencia Test Results

After a very successful season as a satellite Yamaha rider, Ben Spies graduated to the factory Yamaha team, where he will compete in 2011 with teammate and 2010 MotoGP Champion Jorge Lorenzo.

And the Texan who achieved the MotoGP Rookie of the Year award got his first taste of the factory Yamaha YZR-M1 on Tuesday as teams took to the Valencia circuit once again for the traditional post-season tests at the Spanish venue.

Spies, who finished fourth during the final 2010 MotoGP round at Valencia on Sunday, managed the third-fastest time during the first of two days of testing. Spies posted a 1:32.878, only 0.103 of a second slower than the new Repsol Honda rider Casey Stoner, and 0.866 of a second behind his teammate on the other Yamaha, Lorenzo.

Spies spent the majority of Tuesday afternoon aboard the 2011 prototype Yamaha M1, tweaking chassis settings that progressively made the No. 11 rider faster.

Ben Spies says: “For the first day of testing I’m super happy with the team, a lot of things are new including obviously riding the prototype Yamaha bike. There are a lot of subtle changes from last year so I spent some time getting used to it along with working with a new Japanese engineer who is very, very good.”

“I had a couple of new mechanics who were learning the ropes as well so it was a lot of learning today. I’m really happy, I can feel the potential of the bike and I think there’s quite a bit more to come.”

Spies’ new MotoGP team manager, Massimo Meregalli, also commented on the American’s performance during Day 1 of Valencia MotoGP testing.

Massimo Meregalli says: “As a first day, I think Ben’s crew worked really well. He was very satisfied with the new 2011 prototype YZR-M1 bike which is a good sign. We didn’t make many changes to the setup in the session so it’s clear that we have a good base to work with. Tomorrow we will start to test the 2011 tires as today Ben used the same ones as he ran for Sunday’s race.”

Not a surprise, Spies new MotoGP Yamaha teammate was the fastest man on Tuesday. Lorenzo, who also won the final round of the 2010 MotoGP Championship at Valencia on Sunday, only needed five warm-up laps before he became the quickest rider.

Lorenzo split his riding time between the 2011 prototype YZR-M1 and an updated version of his 2010 MotoGP machine.

Jorge Lorenzo says: “Today we tried the new chassis on the 2011 M1 which felt good, although it is still to early to say too much about it. We also tried the new Ohlins suspension which felt better to me on the track. The new engine seems to have less wheelie but we will see more tomorrow in the next session.”

Wilco Zeelenberg (Lorenzo’s Team Manager) says: “2011 has started I would say! We finished the session on top so I think everything went quite well. Our lap times were good and we improved on our qualification time from Sunday’s race. We managed to test everything we wanted to today so tomorrow we will continue with more and see how far Jorge can go.”

The Fiat Yamaha team will return to Valencia circuit Wednesday morning for the final day of post-season MotoGP testing.