Ben Spies is determined to leave Malaysia with a strong points haul despite a painful day in Friday practice at Sepang. The American is leading the factory Yamaha team in Jorge Lorenzo's absence but continues to suffer with the injuries sustained in Australia last weekend.
Spies clocked the ninth fastest time today despite painful ribs which he admits are preventing him from riding the bike to its full potential.
“It's been a really rough day, coming back after the crash in Australia I'm pretty beat up and not able to ride the bike like I want to which is really showing. We're doing the best we can but I feel like I'm struggling. We'll try to get as many points as we can this weekend and keep a reign on fifth place in the Championship.”
Test rider Katsuyuki Nakasuga began his first Grand Prix weekend in the premier class in place of Lorenzo but the 30 year old crashed in both sessions, causing him to end the day at the bottom of the timesheets.
“Today was my first day riding in the MotoGP Championship; I wanted to learn as much as I could during the sessions”, he explained. “Unfortunately I crashed this morning but thought that afterwards I would be able to relax a little once it was out of the way. Unfortunately again I crashed this afternoon and I'm not sure why. I'm feeling disappointed about it but will come back tomorrow and try to make sure we improve and have a day without crashing!”
Team Director Massimo Meregalli reflected on a challenging day for the Yamaha squad and believes both his riders will be able to improve tomorrow.
“Ben is really suffering with his rib injury so it's difficult to expect more from him, he is trying as hard as he can. I think that tomorrow he can maybe deliver some better laps. During qualifying you are more focused and can fight the pain for a couple of hot laps. The bike set up is not so bad, at this moment he can't push hard enough to find any issues or use the full performance of the bike. Nakasuga-san had a difficult start; maybe he felt too much pressure for his first day in MotoGP. At the beginning of the season in testing he put together some great laps so I think he can improve tomorrow.”