In the midst of a hectic, back-to-back MotoGP race schedule, Yamaha Factory Racing’s Ben Spies captured his maiden victory aboard the M1 at the famed “Cathedral” in the Netherlands last Saturday.
It was a double celebration, considering it was Spies’ first MotoGP win and the first of this year’s 50th Anniversary of Yamaha racing in Grand Prix.
Now Spies and the Yamaha squad travel to Mugello for this weekend’s event, Round 8 of the 2011 MotoGP Championship; the Tuscan circuit will bring about more incentive for the team due to its headquarters being only two hours from the Mugello circuit. Last year during his rookie MotoGP year, Spies took seventh at Mugello.
Ben Spies (Yamaha Factory Racing M1 MotoGP) says: “These few days off seem to have taken forever, when you finish a race like Assen you just want to get straight back in and try to do it again.
“My first GP victory still hasn’t sunk in properly; it was pretty special for me to be able to do it at such a legendary circuit and at this unique time in Yamaha’s history. The red and white livery definitely bought me luck! I’m looking forward to Mugello, the track has apparently got a new surface with lots of grip so it should be pretty good for the bike and pretty exciting for the fans.”
Spies teammate, the reigning MotoGP Champion Jorge Lorenzo, was involved in a wreck at Assen, but managed a sixth-place finish. He has won at Mugello in the former 250cc class, and has been on the podium there the past two years.
Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing M1 MotoGP) says: “We are going to Mugello, no time to rest and think about what happened last Saturday. The team did a great job and I believe the bike now can be better, making a step ahead. We have to be positive after all!
“Mugello is a track I like so much, maybe one of the most beautiful around the world, my favorite with Phillip Island. This track is full of chicanes and this year there is new asphalt! I’ve never won in MotoGP, but we will try to be there and give a show to all our fans. Also I hope the weather changes after the previous races, summer has arrived.”
Mugello can lay claim to being one of the fastest circuits in the world. The main straight is over a kilometer long and witnesses speeds of over 320km/hr by the GP riders before dropping into the downhill right hand corner at the end. Combine this with varied camber and gradient changes, high speed chicanes and an extra wide track and the thousands of passionate fans who flock to the surrounding hillsides are guaranteed some intense racing action.