Ben Spies blamed his elimination in the first qualifying session at Losail on the crash in the final practice session on Saturday evening. The American lost the front end of his Pramac Ducati at turn two during the half-hour practice session immediately before Q1 and never felt comfortable on his spare bike, explaining why he could only manage thirteenth behind Aspar’s Aleix Espargaro and teammate his own teammate Andrea Iannone.
“The session was going okay for us at first. We were just working on race setup with old tyres on from yesterday, and we actually started to get faster and gain some confidence. Then I just got into turn 2 too hot and I grabbed a lot of front brake and went down at pretty good speed. Fortunately, we were able to get up and go out with the second bike. The problem was that the back of the bike had a completely different setting, and I couldn’t get up to the same speed that I was at before and get into Q2. Overall, it was good to get back on the bike, and it was good that we were getting up to speed. I’m sorry for the team, and we’ll come back tomorrow.”
Iannone avoided Q1 embarrassment at the hands of Espargaro and the CRT runners and went on to finish tenth in Q2, a result he is hoping to replicate in tomorrow’s race.
“Unfortunately, after riding in Q1, I only had one soft tyre left for Q2, or I probably could have done something better. Along with my team, I want to understand how to change my riding, because I have some problem in tight corners. However, I improved my time in every session, and I think that’s absolutely a positive. My goal now is to finish the race inside the top ten.”