News 10 Nov 2009

MotoGP: Spies makes debut with Monster Tech 3 Yamaha


One day after sealing the Triple Crown of titles for 2009, the Fiat Yamaha Team was back at work in Valencia today looking towards the next season. World Champion Valentino Rossi and runner-up Jorge Lorenzo tested this afternoon and will continue tomorrow before finally getting the chance to take some time off. Lorenzo finished the day second fastest behind Casey Stoner and Rossi was just behind him in third.

Both riders had a new evolution of the 2010 prototype YZR-M1 to try alongside a 2009 bike, a step on from the first version they tried in August in Brno. They both reported back positively to the Yamaha engineers and were able to set some good times on the prototype bikes. Lorenzo’s best time was just 0.025 seconds off Stoner, with Rossi 0.141 seconds behind his team-mate.

Jorge Lorenzo
Position: 2nd Time: 1’32.685 Laps: 45
“I was really excited to try this new version of the M1 today and I had a lot of motivation to get back to work. The feeling out of the corner is much better and we have more grip already in the rear so it’s a big improvement for me. We still need to work on accelleration but I like what we have so far and I think we will continue to be competitive like this year. We have to wait and see the comparison between the old and new bike at a different track next year, but I am excited. I’m quite tired because this is already our fourth day riding here, but I am happy to have one more day of testing.”

Valentino Rossi
Position: 3rd Time: 1’32.826 Laps: 37
“It was quite hard work to get back on the bike today but it’s a very important test for us. The new prototype we have already feels better than what we tried in Brno, so this is positive. I was faster than with the old bike straight away so we know we’re working in the right way and hopefully we can improve some more tomorrow. Of course we still have a 2009 specification engine and we won’t have an update until the next test in February, but the bike already feels more stable and has more rear grip. Tomorrow we have quite a lot to get through and it will be an important day before we can finally relax.”

Less than 24 hours after the conclusion to a successful 2009 MotoGP world championship campaign, the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team was back in action at the Valencia circuit today to begin preparations for next season.

With track action not commencing until 1pm, this morning gave the team chance to welcome new rider Ben Spies, who will partner fellow Texan Colin Edwards in 2010. It was also an opportunity for his mechanics to acquaint themselves with new crew chief Tom Houseworth, who has been a fundamental part of Spies’ successful career to date.

Spies raced to a brilliant seventh place on his Yamaha debut yesterday and his impressive pace cont inued in sunny but blustery conditions today.

For Spies, this afternoon’s four-hour session was all about continuing to familiarise himself with Yamaha’s YZR-M1 machine. The World Superbike champion opted to work more on refining his own riding style than making alterations to the set-up of his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 machine.

The 25-year-old completed 50 laps with a best time of 1.33.496 making it a positive and productive first day with Tech 3. His time was the sixth quickest today and only 0.8s away from fastest rider Casey Stoner and he knocked a massive 0.6s off his best time posted in yesterday’s race.

Fresh from a brilliant fourth place in yesterday’s 30-lap Valencia MotoGP race, which secured fifth overall in the final rankings, Edwards completed a short stint of 35 laps while experimenting with wheelbase and front-end settings on his YZR-M1.

Ben Spies 6th 1.33.496 – 50 laps
“I am really happy to finally make my debut for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team. They are a great team and it feels good to finally get to work with them. Today I was obviously on a different bike but with the same setting that I raced on and it felt good. I improved on my qualifying time so it was a positive and productive day. I really just focused on doing a couple of things different with my style and in the last two sessions I tried to do some things very different and it worked. I was slowly able to chip away at the lap times, so it is encouraging that I’m getting faster and more comfortable without even making any changes to the set-up of the bike. We’ll make some changes to the bike tomorrow, more for me to see what I can feel, than looking for big improvements.”

Colin Edwards 12th 1.33.929 – 35 laps
“First of all I want to welcome Ben to the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team, or should that be Team Texas. He’s joined a fantastic squad and we already love him here because his brilliant Yamaha debut in the race helped me get fifth in the world championship. Personally I’m really excited about working with him in 2010 because he’s a talented rider, and I’m sure we’ll be motivating each other a lot. I didn’t too many laps today and all I did was work on the wheelbase and some different front-end geometry. The bike felt good and we definitely learned a couple of things by making the bike longer. I’ve got a couple of other things to check on the bike tomorrow and then it will off for a hard earned winter break.”