OnTheThrottle Video Interview: Ben Spies Talks About Assen And Barcelona

As usual after a MotoGP race weekend, the guys with OnTheThrottle catch up with Monster Tech 3 Yamaha's Ben Spies to talk about the weekend's events, and to evaluate with Spies how his race weekend went. In this latest episode, Spies and OTT's Dave Williams talk about how Spies' Yamaha M1 compares to the factory Yamahas, how his races at Assen and Catalunya went, and the differences between hard and soft tires. Here's the video:

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does Mr Spies. A very intelligent young man.

His comments regarding the Tech3 machine spec are somewhat perplexing though. Obviously all four Yamaha's have 2010 engines - I think we can take that as read. However Ben intimates that Tech3 are on what 08 / 09 Fiat chassis'? Colin said at the beginning of the year that the satellite bike this year was the closest it's been to the Fiat machine. Burgess says there's next to nothing in it? RdeD is already getting the stiffer 2nd generation 2010 Honda frame. Surely the Tech3 machines are not on 18/24 month old frames?

Even if this was the case then surely it is in Yamaha's interest to give Ben Vale's chassis' (no, not his engines...) rather than waste them on Yosikawa.

That's the nearest I've heard to Ben having a dig at Yamaha.

Yamaha has had the best bike a few years running now. If the chassis is that good that they are using last years bike but with maybe some updates on the factory bike and they do have new body work on all bikes. Yamaha could save money this way and put it into what Yamaha has never been the best at and thats getting the most power from the engine.

Once you get something that works well why change it. Unless the engine power requires something different of the chassis I don't see a need to make changes. You could end up with a problem like they had when Rossi had his worst year on the Yamaha in 2006. They had made the chassis so stiff it chattered bad and Rossi had a tough time on that bike.

It is not unusual in other forms of racing to use a chassis for more than one season if you got it right.

Is the bike that far behind in updates or is there that much of a difference in the abilities of riders and crew? Rossi and Lorenzo have always been close in lap times even after "the wall" and the ceasing of shared data. Meanwhile Colin and Ben both are seeing the same problems with their bikes that Rossi had last year (and we can assume he found a solution). Is Burgess right that they are on "essentially" the same bikes or is Ben more on point when he says his bike is roughly where Rossi's bike was last year? Sure the chassis itself can be the same but things like steering yokes, shock linkages, frame bracing etc. can be vastly different.

David, do you know if Ben receives the same level of support/input from the factory that Lorenzo and Rossi receive? I would assume not but that is another unknown.

I had read that Spies was to get a factory bike next year if Rossi and Lorenzo both stayed at Yamaha. But if Rossi goes to Ducati then I see Ben going to the Fiat team anyways.

Unless the factory and satelitte teams have the same major sponsors they will never get the same /equal hardware / software as the factory team.

Thanks for the essential viewing, David!
Boy, only Americans can give interviews like Colin and Ben. "I gotta take a piss!" hehe, next time you see Ben all content and serious on the grid, you know what's going through his mind! ;)

@ SV650Nut, Normally, I'd agree with you, but young Master Spies is contracted directly with Yamaha ...


Being contracted with Yamaha doesn't matter. What matters is that the factory sponsor FIAT pays a HUGE amount of money and they will never settle for a satellite sponsor finishing higher than they do for a pitance of what they had to pay.

The factory knows this and makes sure the sat team doesn't get the same hardware and or software as they have on their bikes.

To the men that own MotoGP tracks, santioning body, motorcycles and team sponsors they want good racing - but - they are in it for the money and expect to get a good return on their investment. The fans and riders have to be satisfied with what they give us after they get their (big) piece of the pie.

This is why Moto2 is such a good show. Dorna has more control over the support classes and can make more independant decisions to ensure the racing is more fair and competitive.

Like I said, to the people in control, its all about the $$$. Sure, they want good racing, but that is secondary to getting or staying rich.

Some would say the Yamaha is the best all round bike but take away Rossi and Lorenzo and you have a mid pack bike.
Its success is down to the 2 best riders in the championship. Spies i like a lot but he is moaning just like Toseland was they think they are getting a much inferior bike to the 2 Fiat bikes. what they forget is both Rossi and Lorenzo have 1st class experienced engineers unlike Spies. Houseman will in time get to grips with the bike but lets face it he has worked on converted production bikes for years. the motogp bikes are a different kettle of fish.
Spies will in time get up the sharp end but hes impatient he first has to learn to ride the bike and secondly get past all the top guys who have raced these bikes for years. He is also feeling that after winning so many races last year he should be doing better, my advice is stop moaning head down mate and go as fast as you can. except defeat and be prepared to be no 2 in the Fiat camp next year. then go through it all again because you cant beat you team mate ( Lorenzo ) on the same bike.
This is racing,

And if you take away Stoner and Pedrosa you get the same thing. You have 4 very good riders and if you take them out the series would look totally different. I have not heard Spies moaning or complaining about his bike. Edwards has been the most outspoaken about the Yamaha this year. He has come into the series saying he just wanted a podium by the years end. He never said he would win a race. Media has hyped him up. But he has a podium most likely due to Rossi being out and I think he can win a race this year most likely here in the US but I think he will need some help even then.

I don't know if Spies knows how to moan... or laugh. I don't hear complaining I just hear another satelite rider that wants his bike more competitive, just like every other satelite rider. I think its just amazing what Spies is doing! Putting in results like this on a prototype bike on tracks he's never raced before! He's showing amazing potential right now, I don't know if he'll get a win but he's already exceeded my expectations. Even if he doesn't win he's had an extremely successful first year, all the other rookies aren't even close.

There are two groups of racers in MotoGP - factory and satellite. The 80% rider and 20% bike rule of success applies to both those groups - individually. In other words, generally the rider is responsible for about 80% of the results and the bike about 20%.

The big difference is that the factory teams are (in most cases) competing for the podium and the satellite teams are competing for "top satellite" honors.

Why? See my related post elsewhere in this thread.

If the satellite riders are complaining it is for good reason. Though it won't do them much good. It does happen - but only in very rare and extenuating circumstances will a satellite rider get factory level equipment.

Your 80/20 rule may apply in production based racing, but it's WAY out of proportion for the MotoGP machines. Look at Capirex, he's not a backmarker rider, but his machine blows (until it seems, this past weekend). Everyone that has ridden the Suzuki or Kawasaki bikes has turned instantly into a rolling chicane.

The fact of the matter is that the only people that know what spec machinery they are getting are the people doling out the equipment and possibly the riders. Any arguing about it after that is useless conjecture. Given that Colin rode for the Fiat team, he would be in a good place to determine what spec of equipment he has. If he says he has the same equipment as in 2007 when he rode for Fiat, then I would believe him.

Most folks know that the 80/20 rule isn't an exact figure. It just means that the large portion of the credit goes to the rider, not the bike. I just thought I'd point that out.

Kawasaki and Suzuki really fall into the "satellite" group nowadays because of their lack of commitment and effort the last couple of years. There are MANY examples of both these manufacturers puny effort. Kaw isn't even there anymore and Suzuki might as well not be and probably wouldn't be if it weren't for fear of litigation.

If the 80/20 (or majority rider/minority bike) rule doesn't apply in MotoGP, how can the Stoner/Melandri season 2008 be explained? Shouldn't Melandri been 3rd or 4th in the championship?

If 80 and 20 are not meant to be exact figures, then why use them? 80 and 20 seem pretty exact to me.

I never said that the rider was not the majority of the equation, I just think that the machine makes for more than 20% of it. You can take the best bike, put a nobody rider on it and he's not going to win, but you can also take the Suzuki, put Rossi on it, and he's not going to win.

80/20 is an old adage. Whilst carrying a fair degree of truth it is only a saying.

What we are seeing with Yamaha is a very distinct difference in their riders respective skill levels first and foremost. From Lorenzo to Spies to Edwards and finally Yoshikawa. Feasibly they could all be on identical machines (if they are not already!) and nothing would change in my books.

Machine differences are smaller than riders' abilities. Ben has on occasion shown the skill to ride the requisite lap times. Spies and Houseworth simply needs to find the balance that allows that over the course of a whole race - not just the latter half.

I don't fully buy into SV6540Nut's $'s over all else take on things. The top team pays top dollar for the top riders - this investment gets them the results. Where a factory pour their resources is up to them. Plenty of examples of non factory teams running full factory kit historically. Yes Fiat will get updates first - this is natural. I think SV speaks of a specification gulf that simply isn't there.

Once more Ben is not an Alien yet!

Nostro says - "The top team pays top dollar for the top riders - this investment gets them the results." -

Well said, my point exactly. I contend that the top bikes are included in the deal to ensure "this investment gets them the results". They pay the big bucks for the results, not the riders or the bikes - though it takes both to get the results on a consistant basis.

Another example (among many others) that supports my point is the rookie rule. If all the bikes are equal then forcing the best new riders to non-factory team would put sponsors like FIAT at a disadvantage. Do you really think this is going to be the case?

I guess we all have our different points of view. One of the reasons I love this sport.

Just read an article (interview?) on SPEED. Spies says he is handcuffed and wants an upgrade - for himself and Colin, natch ...

At the latest Spies wants an upgrade closer to the factory specification of Jorge Lorenzo's championship-leading M1 before his home race, the USGP at Laguna Seca (July 25).

He also says that there is a pretty big gap between factory and Tech3 at Yamaha whereas not so at Honda and mentions Randy D's upgrades as an example as well.

I love this little snippet from Colin:

Fellow Texan Edwards supported Spies' stance: "I sat there in the debrief and listened to Ben rant and rave about how he had never ridden so damn hard in his life to finish sixth. But I've said everything he said before."

Edwards has written an email to Yamaha's management requesting that both he and Spies be given urgent upgrades for their home race at Laguna Seca.

Here is a Link to SPEED article.

I hope it was OK to copy some of the text over. And I hope they get what they need and not just for Laguna, although it seems that they don't expect they would be allowed to keep an upgrade if granted. Special circumstance?

He may get a little something for the Laguna and Indy races but I don't believe he will get it for the other races. I don't think FIAT will go along with that.

Because Ben and Colin have been raising this issue for some time with no response it seems from Tech 3 (in terms of upgrades that is).

I would think surely they would want to give them a little something to be competitive with the other Satellite bikes however. In the overall scheme of things it doesn't make sense not to. But if they could hook them up for the home races at least - keep the locals happy...that would be me, and it is in the end all about me! :)