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Spies Finds Big Set-Up Change in First Practice at Estoril

Have  you been wondering what happened to Yamaha’s Ben Spies this year?  After his Rookie of the Year season in MotoGP, he was nipping at the heels of his fast teammate Jorge Lorenzo last year, winning at Assen, and finding the podium a total of four times. This year, he has been trying to find a clue, instead, with a pair of 11th place finishes in the first two races.

Stating his crew had found a huge set-up change, Spies was quickest in the first practice at Estoril and second quickest in the afternoon practice (only bested by Casey Stoner).  We will keep you posted on developments this weekend, including a brief report on qualifying tomorrow.

Pos. Num. Rider Nation Team Bike Km/h Time Gap 1st/Prev.
1 1 Casey STONER AUS Repsol Honda Team Honda 1’38.396
2 11 Ben SPIES USA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 1’38.717 0.321 / 0.321
3 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 1’38.742 0.346 / 0.025
4 26 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 1’38.797 0.401 / 0.055
5 99 Jorge LORENZO SPA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 1’38.930 0.534 / 0.133
6 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA San Carlo Honda Gresini Honda 1’38.959 0.563 / 0.029
7 69 Nicky HAYDEN USA Ducati Team Ducati 1’39.029 0.633 / 0.070
8 8 Hector BARBERA SPA Pramac Racing Team Ducati 1’39.193 0.797 / 0.164
9 46 Valentino ROSSI ITA Ducati Team Ducati 1’39.357 0.961 / 0.164
10 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 1’39.615 1.219 / 0.258


  1. Sean says:

    .3 seconds per lap off the pole is an eternity. This is why MotoGP has become a snoozefest after the first 3 laps. Compound those lap times over 20+ laps and the spread is insane with almost no competition at the end. I love MotoGP, but thank god for DVRs!!!

  2. Stinky says:

    I think Spies will be the next Colin. Sorry kid, hard work can only go so far, ask Nicky or Colin. To play with these guys you’ve gotta be born with a lot of it AND work your ass off.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “To play with these guys you’ve gotta be born with a lot of it AND work your ass off.”

      having a 30 man team of boffins working THEIR asses off doesn’t hurt. stoner and rossi have both proven, “no amount of talent can overcome recalcitrant kit”.

  3. Scott in the UK says:

    Stoner on pole.

  4. jon says:

    OH yeah huge improvement, LOL..
    Sitting in 5th after qualifying and a huge 3 tenths off his teammate.
    Ben has nothing for tomorrow.

    • Davis says:

      “huge 3 tenths off his teammate”

      Lorenzo, 1:37.466, Spies 1:37.723, difference.257, huge?

      • jon says:

        It’s GP racing not AMA. That’s a mile in the big boy league!!! Top four will disappear in five laps.

        • Brian says:

          His qualifying was blocked 3 times by CRT bikes. He was on his way to a front row start. I saw a few of those blocks watching qualifying this morning. He found his speed. He will be up there tomorrow.

        • ReflexTowing says:

          Ben got caught up in traffic on three of his hot laps.

          Apparently it was a pretty big issue, Edwards and RDP collided resulting in a broken collarbone for Edwards. Makes me wonder if he’ll hang it up. I think he’s 38? RDP had a pretty bad contusion too, wonder if he’ll race tomorrow.

        • Davis says:

          I’m aware of that, but I disagree. It’s a medium 3 tenths, not huge… let’s not get too serious here now.

          I actually think Spies may have something tomorrow due to the pretty significant set up steps he made. Even if your not a Spies fan, you have to admit he hasn’t looked like himself on the bike so far this year.

          We shall see.

  5. Gary says:

    Go, Ben!

  6. Provalogna says:

    Place your bets:
    10th place.

  7. Dave says:

    Tight group. Less than 1 sec. between 2nd and 10th.

  8. brinskee says:

    3/10ths down. That’s the Spies I’ve been expecting. I think his sacrifice to the motorcycle gods may have just helped him!

    Go get ’em Ben!

    • Brian says:

      nice sacrafice… I was thinking there is no way he should be down that far if the satelites were doing that good. hopefully the set up was what he is looking for and starts to battle the aliens for a podium. I will be holding my breath this weekend. 2 DNF in the past 2 years in Portugal…