Another difficult weekend beset Ben Spies at his home track of Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. After qualifying for MotoGP Q2 in the final automatic position of tenth during FP3, Spies started Sundays race from 12th place on the grid after the intense 15 minute qualifying session saw the Texan lose out to the two riders qualifying from Q1 in Aleix Espargaro and Bradley Smith.
|Ben Spies had a tough weekend at ‘home’
Photo: Pramac Ducati
During morning Warm-Up for Sundays feature race, Spies felt a sharp pain in his chest and immediately sought advice and assistance from the Clinica Mobile. It’s well documented that Spies suffered with the shoulder he injured in Sepang last year that ruled him out of the final race of the season at Valencia. Spies’ initial thought was that he’d been over compensating for the shoulder, which he reported was thankfully much stronger than at Qatar, and tweaked a nerve in his chest.
From that point the race was always going to be difficult for the Ducati rider and was a damage limitation exercise, but not without immense effort in the opening laps before the pain took over and Spies nursed himself home in 13th place for 3 valuable points.
Team mate Andrea Iannone fared little better as, after a competent weekend of steadily improving lap times, the Italian Rookie suffered a recurrence of arm pump that plagued his progress two weeks ago in Qatar.
Spies described the weekends events “I had a little problem with a nerve in my chest for some reason. I don’t know if it’s from overcompensating for my shoulder problem, which is actually getting a lot better compared to Qatar. That said, two laps before the end of the warm-up, I had a twinge in my chest. It was like a knife, so we went to the clinic and they worked on me a lot and got me ready for the race. I tried as hard as I could during the race, but it wasn’t enough. At 8 laps to go, it was either come in or salvage whatever points we could. We need to work harder and get back to 100% and just keep working with the bike. I’m more disappointed for the team, friends, family, fans, Ducati, and Ignite Pramac, because they deserve better.”
Iannone lamented “We improved a lot today. Yesterday I wasn’t competitive at all, and I couldn’t take full advantage of qualifying. It was a shame because if I had managed to start further ahead, maybe it would’ve been more enjoyable, although I think it still would’ve ended the same, as I started losing a lot of strength in my right arm after a few laps. Seven laps in, I started to feel really bad, and I had to conserve my strength. It was very difficult, and unfortunately I couldn’t control the bike. Anyway, it was still a good race; I was more aggressive and confident right away, and I was even able to stay ahead of Nicky for a little while, which is really good for me. I learned a lot of things that will be useful in the future.”