Ben Spies was meant to be a 2012 MotoGP title challenger. A second term in the factory team, and the move to 1000cc machines was meant to suit the Texan down to the ground, as we all know it didn’t quite turn out like that.
The 2009 SBK World Champion and 2010 MotoGP rookie of the year couldn’t have had a worse season in terms of luck.
Defective electronics, broken frames, helmet problems, tyre problems, the list is endless. Capped with a crash and injury in Sepang, resulting in Spies’ missing the final two races of the season.
With his awful luck, and lack of results pressure was mounting on Spies’ to keep his 2013 ride, but before Yamaha even had a chance to discuss a negation, Spies dropped that Bombshell.
Speaking to German site speedweek.de the Texan said “The way I rode at the start of the season, I was just not feeling comfortable. I wanted to improve my lap times, but after a few weeks, I realized that I had lost my riding style with the Yamaha.
Spies knew he had to rediscover his form in order to save his career. “I opted for the Barcelona GP: Okay, I’ll just do what makes me quick. This will be my new approach. And from then on my lap times were slightly better.”
Despite his success in his first seasons in MotoGP, Spies belives the Yamaha wasn’t the best bike for his riding style. The glorified 250 model of the M1 doesn’t suit the SBK background of Spies. “My style is based more on extreme hard braking maneuvers.”
“I go in with less corner speed, but I accelerate out very hard. Jorge goes quite differently. The high corner speed is his greatest asset. For a while, I tried to acquire a mix of his and my riding styles. But it didn’t work. So I went back to my style.”
Spies insisted that there had been no pressure from Yamaha. “You gave me no rules how to drive. But I got advice.”
Despite this Spies’ knew Rossi was coming back and decided it was time to move onto pastures new. There were rumours from SBK to AMA, Suzuki to BMW, but in the end the Texan elected for Ducati, and the Pramac team.
Whether the Ducati will allows Spies to ride more “point and shoot” as he prefers remains to be seen, due to the Texan missing the post season tests as he recovered from the Sepang crash. But we shall find out how he fares when the paddock reassemble in February in Sepang.