Ben Spies thinks people have been underestimating the Ducati as he looks ahead to the new season with his Desmosedici.
Speaking to the BBC the Texan said “I think the bike is better than what people have seen in the last two years.”
Spies is also confident he can continue to fight with the likes of Cal Crutchlow and Stefan Bradl despite the fact that they are on widely accepted better machinery than the Pramac bike.
“That’s still the goal. Okay, last year was bad. Bradl is fast and Crutchlow’s definitely quick. He hasn’t won a race yet, we did in our second year, so I’m not worried about chasing somebody else in that way.
“Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo are definitely the top riders. Everybody else I think is at a very close level.”
Aiming high Spies also recognizes that he must impress and win within the team first. Despite being on a ‘satellite’ bike both Spies and team mate Andrea Iannone will be in close contact with the factory.
“I’m just going to ride as hard as I can ride and if that puts me the first Ducati, the last Ducati, or winning a race, I have no clue.
“I’ve never been the type that says as long as I beat my team-mate I am happy with that, because that’s just job security when people do that.
“The last two years I’ve had a pretty good team-mate in Jorge Lorenzo, who is the fastest person in the world, so I don’t think about being the fastest on that brand. It’s just getting the most I can out of it and doing the best I can.”
Whether Spies’ optimism will fade once he gets his first taste of the troublesome Desmosedici remains to be seen, but we will have a clearer indication after the first Sepang test in just two weeks time.