Texan Ben Spies officially made his debut as a factory Yamaha MotoGP rider at Valencia on Tuesday and says he’s “super happy” with his opening day performance.
The 2009 Superbike World Champion set an impressive third quickest time as he replaces Valentino Rossi alongside Jorge Lorenzo at Yamaha, setting a best lap of 1:32.878 on the first of two days.
“For the first day of testing I’m super happy with the team, a lot of things are new including obviously riding the prototype bike,” Spies commented.
“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 was joined in MotoGP for the first time by former WSBK team manager Massimo Meregalli, the pair reunited for 2011.
“As a first day, I think Ben’s crew worked really well,” the former WSS racer explained. “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 tyres as today Ben used the same ones as he ran for Sunday’s race.”