It's been a long time since the last time the folks at OnTheThrottle caught up with Ben Spies, but it's definitely been worth the wait. Once again, OTT's David Williams talks to the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha rider about his race at Indy, his adventures at Misano and the thrilling battle for 5th at Aragon with Andrea Dovizioso. Along the way, Spies talks about the role that electronics play in riding a MotoGP bike, and his own progression as a rider, as well as revealing just how much support he is really getting from Yamaha. Here's 31 minutes you'll be glad you spent listening to Ben Spies:
MotoGP fans around the world - and to an even greater extent, everyone involved in MotoGP - have been waiting for a calendar for the 2011 season for a long time now. The problem has been that MotoGP has an informal agreement with Formula One to avoid scheduling conflicts between the two series, and thereby force TV companies to choose between one or the other.
In practice, this means that Formula One dictates the MotoGP calendar, and this is exactly what appears to have happened to the provisional 2011 MotoGP calendar. An early version was leaked two weeks ago, a version that looked to be fairly reliable, but rescheduling by Formula One - shuffling some of the 20 races which it has on its calendar - meant that too many MotoGP races would conflict with F1 events.
As a result, the FIM has finally managed to produce a provisional version of the 2011 MotoGP calendar, which has seen a surprising amount of reshuffling of events happen. The season starts in Qatar on March 20th, as previously announced, and the season night race is expected to be spread over four days instead of the usual three, to allow the race to be run earlier at night, avoiding the drastic temperature drops that can happen between 11pm and midnight in the desert. It also means the season starts some three weeks earlier than in 2010, seizing back some of the ground MotoGP had ceded to the World Superbike series.
The announcement of the official 2011 MotoGP calendar - albeit the provisional one - has been a long time coming. Normally, the provisional calendar is settled at the Brno round of MotoGP, but the series' desire not to clash with Formula One means that the Grand Prix Commission has had to wait for the FIA to release the F1 calendar before finalizing their own. With the F1 calendar now provisionally released, the MotoGP calendar is expected to be released this weekend at the Aragon round.
An early version of the calendar has already surfaced among race travel trip organizers. As their businesses depend upon knowing the following year's schedule as early as possible, MotoGP travel companies are among the very first to know. Our friends over at Pole Position Travel pointed us to a provisional calendar which has appeared on the website of another organization selling MotoGP tickets.
After Sunday's MotoGP race at Indianapolis, in which he finished 4th, Valentino Rossi spoke to reporters for his usual post-race press debrief. During the conversation, Rossi talked about how his biggest problem is a lack of fitness, as he is still unable to run on his broken leg. He also told the press he still wasn't sure about what his legendary crew chief Jerry Burgess was going to be doing next year. And he went on to attack the role electronics plays in the sport, speaking of his hope that measures would be taken to reduce the importance of electronics when MotoGP returns to 1000cc in 2012. Here's what Rossi told reporters:
Question: How was the day? It was hot out there.
Valentino Rossi: Yes, is very difficult. I expected to be in trouble, because also during the practice after 8 or 9 laps, I started to lose strength. And in fact is very, very difficult. So for me, it was a positive race because for one part of the race, I could make the same lap time as Lorenzo and Spies, and I made also a little bit faster time than Lorenzo and same as Ben.
The press office of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway continue to do an outstanding job, collecting the following notes and quotes from the riders in today's MotoGP race. For quotes from the podium riders, see the separate news item.
MotoGP POST-RACE NOTES:
MODERATOR: OK, ladies and gentlemen, riders are on their way. In third place, Jorge Lorenzo here at Indianapolis. (Applause) Jorge has a 68-point lead in the championship over Dani Pedrosa, of course, who won the race. In second place, Ben Spies. (Applause) And the race winner, his third Grand Prix victory of the season, Dani Pedrosa.
Dani, you look absolutely shattered, I've got to say. I think that was, all three of you look absolutely shattered but that was a pretty tough afternoon's work.
Results and summary of the MotoGP race at Indianapolis:
Results and summary of the Moto2 race at Indianapolis:
Results and summary of the 125cc race at Indianapolis: