Ben Spies - Photo Credit: Yamaha

Ben Spies - Photo Credit: Yamaha

 

Ben Spies praised his Yamaha team after a much improved showing in Friday practice at Estoril. The American has struggled to adapt to the 1000cc YZR-M1 but after setting the second quickest time this afternoon, he explained the changes which have transformed his performance.

“It's a good feeling today but it's still early, it's Friday. The most important thing is I have to thank my crew, they made a huge change to the bike, not only to the front but we also changed some rider position settings that I asked for and the bike seems good. Not only are the lap times fast, it's much easier to ride at that speed than the slower times at Jerez. Right now the bike is quick and easy to ride, we need to make some more improvements to it. To be in the top three on the first day after two difficult weekends is a positive start.”

Teammate Jorge Lorenzo was only fifth fastest and admitted he was still searching for the ideal set-up with the YZR-M1. The Championship leader also criticised the newly laid Estoril tarmac which he feels doesn't offer as much grip as before.

“Today was so-so because we didn't find a good set up or a good feeling with the bike. Also the new asphalt is not the best, I think it's worse than last year in some places and also the weather doesn't help with some wet patches in corners. I expect a lot of things to improve tomorrow, especially the rear of the bike which is not right in some corners.”

Team Director Massimo Meregalli was happy with the day's work and remains confident that Lorenzo will be in the fight for pole position tomorrow.

“Definitely a promising start today, the new set-up is giving Ben the right confidence so now it's a matter of some little adjustments but he is up there which is the most important thing. Jorge missed the morning session due to the bad conditions; I think tomorrow he will be where he should be. A good starting day, let's see what tomorrow brings.”