Ben Spies was relieved to come out of qualifying in Valencia with a place on the front row, describing the session as “hectic”. The American had a difficult start to the weekend with a crash on Friday afternoon but bounced back brilliantly to qualify third.
Spies paid tribute to his Yamaha team for working on the set-up and hopes to repay them with a strong result, even though he'd rather the rain stayed away.
“Qualifying was really hectic today for all the riders. There was a sprinkling of rain all the way through which makes you very nervous about how much to push. I have to say thank you Yamaha for a great bike. It's working great here so we just need to pray for some dry time for the race. We're going to get some rest tonight and try to make sure we end the season on a high tomorrow.”
Teammate Katsuyuki Nakasuga struggled by comparison with the cold temperatures and sporadic rainfall making life difficult. The Japanese rider admitted to feeling unsettled but feels he will be more competitive tomorrow.
“Today was quite difficult with the different weather conditions. I did feel that I understood the track a little bit better. This afternoon in qualifying we changed to a new tyre and I felt good with it but unfortunately was not able to make a better time as I was unsure how much to push with some rain falling. Tomorrow I will do my best for Yamaha; the experience will also help me in the future as a test rider!”
Team Director Massimo Meregalli sympathised with Nakasuga while praising Spies for his performance in difficult circumstances.
“I think Ben really proved what he could do this afternoon, he didn't surprise me, I was confident for him. I was a little worried about the weather but he did a great job despite the tricky conditions. To start from the front row considering all the problems we've had recently shows he is a tough rider. Unfortunately Nakasuga-san didn't find the best conditions to learn a new track, Valencia looks simple but it isn't. He knows what he has to do so I'm sure he'll deliver the best result possible tomorrow.”