In the last of our post-race debriefs, Ben Spies speaks about his first visit to the epic arena of Jerez:
The Monster Tech 3 Yamaha rider had been bitterly disappointed by his result, when a front end problem had forced him to pull out. "I'm really bummed out that the race just didn't pan out so that we could get out and see where we could have been. I said after this warmup, with the setup we had, we felt we could legitimately fight for a top 6 spot, be right at the cusp of that battle of 4th to 7th. But on the second lap, I knew we were facing some big problems. I tried to ride around it, but I couldn't. I hadn't even had one near crash the whole weekend, and I had seven or eight legitimate saves the first three laps. I didn't really want to stack the bike up."
"It was pretty disappointing, we had a good warmup, we had a good start, and I was behind the players of the race that I wanted to be behind, and as soon as everybody got settled in and the race started picking up at the start of the second lap, we started to run into some problems. After a couple of minutes looking at the data, we could see I was doing exactly the same thing I had been doing all weekend, and the bike just wasn't responding like it had been. I tried to do a couple of different things, but it just wasn't working. It's not one thing that we came in and said it's that or it's this, it just didn't happen to day, we had a problem with the front grip. "
"My first thought after the first couple of seconds was like, you've gotta be kiddin' me! I've got a good start, I'm right where I need to be, this is all going good, and everyone started passing me and I started running wide. I had a group of four guys behind me so I just let them go, and then tried to get back into a rhythm. Tried that, didn't work, almost crashed again, and I was just going to keep going backwards. For the people on the track, I wasn't going to be beating anybody today."
Spies had considered replacing a wheel and going back out again, but with the engine rules so restrictive, he felt he had little to gain by doing so. "We talked about putting in a new front wheel, I thought about it a bit. We really didn't have a conversation in the garage about it. It was more that I was thinking once I knew I was coming in, was that the best case scenario was a couple of people crash, I put on a new front tire, I still get a point or two. From where I am in the championship, it's not like I'm battling for the top three or anything, and it's another 24 hard laps on the engine. There's no point in finishing if we're not finishing in the top 10. And we're testing here tomorrow, so from a lap standpoint, so I'll do a race test tomorrow when the bike's feeling good. It sounds bad, not that you don't want to go out there, but we weren't going to get a whole lot accomplished. "