Spies prepares for British GP

AMA champ adjusts to MotoGP racing

By Motorcycle.Com Staff, Jun. 20, 2008
Ben Spies made his MotoGP debut practicing for the June 22 British Grand Prix for Rizla Suzuki.

Subbing in for the injured Loris Capirossi, Spies spent much of his practice sessions getting acclimatized to the unfamiliar track and his bike, a GSV-R800.

“We have to remember he only rode the 2007 GSV-R for about two hours at Valencia in November last year, and that Donington Park is completely new to him,” says Rizla Suzuki team manager Paul Denning. “Learning a new racetrack is one thing, but learning to ride a new machine with different tires on a new racetrack is another thing altogether - and pretty difficult to do as well!”

Spies’ first practice time of 1:31.807 put him at the bottom of the 18-bike field, three seconds back of Ducati Marlboro’s Casey Stoner who led all riders. Spies shaved more than a second off his time during the second practice session, with a best lap of 1:30.766, moving him up a spot to 17th fastest in combined testing times.Ben Spies will don Rizla Suzuki powder blue and race with on the number 11 GSV-R800.

“I’m not used to being this far back in the field, but with what we are trying to achieve here this weekend I’ve got to be pleased with how it has gone today,” says Spies. “This is the first time I’ve been on this bike and the first time I’ve ever been to Donington, so realistically only being about a second off a decent pace is pretty good. I feel we can be competitive if we can get more dry time and every time we have gone out we’ve knocked off a second, so if we continue with that we’ll be good.”

The defending AMA Superbike champion and currently sitting second in the standings, Spies is expected to make the leap to MotoGP racing next year. Spies is already scheduled to race as a wildcard at the series’ two stops this season at Laguna Seca and Indianapolis. Making his start on the other side of the Pond provides Spies with a chance to adjust to MotoGP racing with a lot less pressure than starting under the spotlight in the States.