Ben Spies was forced to throw in the towel during second practice for the Japanese Grand Prix this afternoon as he continued to suffer with food poisoning. The Yamaha rider fell ill on his way from the United States and only managed six laps before pulling into the pits, suffering from exhaustion.
The American will continue to undergo treatment with Clinica Mobile and is hopeful of riding closer to full fitness tomorrow.
“What a shocking start to the weekend, I don't think I've ever been as sick as I was on the journey over here, I was nearly not allowed on the plane. I'm slowly getting my strength back thanks to the great guys at Clinica but didn't have enough to ride properly in the second session. I started to get tunnel vision on the straight and just felt it was too dangerous to be out there. I'm working with Clinica today and tomorrow and am sure things will be a bit better for qualifying and the race. I'm really sorry for my team and all the Japanese fans who came to watch today.”
Teammate Jorge Lorenzo had a relatively stress-free day, finishing in fifth place, but feels he is going to have his work cut out to challenge the works Hondas who locked out the top four places.
“We improved the lap time quite a lot from the morning to the afternoon session but it's still not enough, the competition is very strong here. It is going to be a very difficult weekend to fight for the podium and the victory. We are trying some things on the bike to improve the stability on braking and into corners. We found a little but still need to find some more! We are fifth which could be worse today.”
Team Manager Wilco Zeelenberg had a much more positive outlook for the rest of the weekend, believing the YZR-M1 will be a lot closer to the front come qualifying tomorrow.
“The first day is not really that bad, we look worse on the time sheets than we really are. Jorge's consistency is good which is important. We are missing a little on braking stability and edge grip. We are looking forward to tomorrow, we need to solve these two things but we have a good pace. We need to improve but there is space to do that.”