Ben Spies stormed to a stunning debut MotoGP podium for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team this afternoon after a thrilling battle at the spectacular Silverstone circuit.
Competing in only his ninth MotoGP race, Spies was locked in an early battle with fellow rookie Marco Simoncelli for sixth place before he became embroiled in an epic fight for second place in front of 70,123 fans.
Spies passed Dani Pedrosa on lap nine and then launched a brilliant pursuit of the group in front dicing for second that included Andrea Dovizioso, Randy de Puniet and fellow American Nicky Hayden.
The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider stalked the trio before he began a breathtaking late attack, firstly overtaking de Puniet for fourth place on lap 17.
That clinical pass left Spies hounding Hayden’s Ducati and the 25-year-old timed his crucial attack to perfection, the Texan ignoring the discomfort of a small fracture in his left ankle that he aggravated in a big qualifying crash yesterday.
Spies produced a daring overtake on Hayden at the fast Abbey Corner on the final lap and then defended supremely under immense pressure to claim third and his first premier class rostrum.
The result moved Spies into seventh place in the overall world championship standings with 36-points and helped the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team close the gap on fourth place in the all-important Team World Championship classification.
Texan team-mate Colin Edwards rode a determined 20-lap race after a difficult weekend where he never found the optimum setting with his YZR-M1 machine.
He also encountered a repeat of the arm pump issue that hindered him at the last round in Mugello, but he was satisfied having rode to a creditable ninth position to maintain his record of scoring points in every race so far in 2010.
Ben Spies 3rd – 36-points
“I didn’t expect to get my first podium so quickly, especially after yesterday which wasn’t the best for me. I got a decent start but once I got by Dani and Simoncelli I just tried to stay on the back of the group battling for the podium. Once I realised I could stay in contention I just tried to save the rear tyre as much as I could and it all worked out. The last few laps I pushed as hard as I could and made some good passes and it is great for Yamaha and the Monster Tech 3 Team. I’m also pretty happy about it too and this is good for my confidence. That last lap was difficult to pass Nicky but I got a really good drive onto the back straight and tried to pass him at Stowe Corner but he came back by. On the next straight I managed to get by him and then had to ride quite defensively on the last part of the lap. I was on the edge but I had to go for the podium and it worked out. It will be hard to duplicate this but right now I’ll let it sink in and make the most of it. But on this day I can say I was the third best rider in the world and it is a good feeling.”
Colin Edwards 9th – 26-points
“I don’t want to be finishing in ninth at all but honestly I’m reasonably happy with the way I rode and it was a lot better than I expected after what has been a tough weekend. I’m still a fair way behind the top group but I had so many problems this weekend that even a top ten was looking like a difficult result to achieve. I didn’t leave anything out there and I went better than I did in qualifying but it was still not easy. The bike isn’t agile enough and having to muscle it around gave me a small arm pump problem, but not as bad as Mugello. If I could get the bike to go where I want it to go I could save lots of time, but we’ve got some ideas for the future. It was a bit of a lonely race but I rode as hard as I could for as long as I could. I want to congratulate Ben though because he did an awesome job and I’ve got nothing but admiration for him. He showed today what a great rider he is and it is great for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team to be back on the podium.”
Herve Poncharal – Team Manager
“We knew Ben really liked this circuit and we thought he could do a good race. But he rode an incredible race because he didn’t get a fantastic start but he was very aggressive in the first two laps and got himself into contention. He never let that group in front of him go away and we know his strength is on worn tyres, so we expected him to hang in until the end. He was quickest on track at one stage but I was worried a little bit because Casey was catching quite quickly. But he kept his cool and made some good passes and the best was on the last lap to beat Nicky. It his first podium in MotoGP and certainly not his last because he is such a bright talent for the future. I’d like to say thanks to Yamaha and to Bridgestone and also to the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team because since the start of the season it has been a little bit up and down. But we’ve never stopped trying hard and today we got a big reward. Colin rode a steady race and as always he never stopped trying to improve his situation and we know better results will come for him soon. Now we look forward to Assen that both Colin and Ben like a lot and we are confident of another competitive weekend.”
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