Saturday, June 25, 2011

Ben Spies Takes Maiden MotoGP Win at Assen TT

Ben Spies on the #1 Rockstar/Makita/Yoshimura American Suzuki-sponsored GSX-R1000 heads into the carousel towards the end of lap 1 of race 2, leading the pack during the Wiseco 100 Superbike Doubleheader at Mid Ohio in August of 2008, the premier event of the Honda Super Cycle Weekend presented by Dunlop Tire round of the AMA Superbike Championship presented by Parts Unlimited.  Following closely on his heels is team mate and then 6-Time AMA Superbike Champion Mat Mladin on his #6 like-sponsored GSXR.  Mladin would go on to win the battle, but Spies would go on to win the war and at the end of the year capture his 3rd AMA Superbike Championship, adding to his '07 AMA Superstock Championship earned in AMA Pro Road Racing over the course of the previous three years.

Just behind Mladin (and partially obscured) is Jamie Hacking on the #2 Monster Energy Kawasaki ZX-10R, Neil Hodgson on the #100 Honda/Parts Unlimited/Suomy-backed CBR1000RR, with team mate Miguel Duhamel on the #17 American Honda/Shark/Joe Rocket-sponsored CBR.  Aaron Yates on the #20 Jordan Brand/American Suzuki-sponsored GSX-R1000 tries to keep the front pack in sight as he just comes into the shot on far left.

Spies control and mastery in all-types of competition over the course of the last seven years of premier-class racing has seen him accomplish things we mortals can only dream of in the sport of high-speed road racing around the world.  After leaving the AMA Series after the end of the '08 season, Elbowz arrived on the World Superbike Championship Series (WSBK) scene, and immediately let everyone know his lack of knowledge of race circuits was not going to leave him deterred.  By the end of the '09 season, he had won the WSBK Championship in a route, winning half the races on the season and 11 of 14 poles on the year.  Spies then left the Yamaha World Superbike team to ride alongside fellow-Texan and Mr. Popularity in the MotoGP Championship, Colin Edwards, on the Tech 3 Yamaha satellite team, winning the Rookie of the Year Award along the way and scoring podiums and a pole position at one of his home events, the RedBull Indianapolis MotoGP round last August, less then six miles down the road from the home of Stu's Shots.

Now riding alongside of 2010 MotoGP World Champion Jorge Lorenzo on the Yamaha Factory team, the Texas Terror has had a rough start to the 2011 campaign, with three DNF's in the first six rounds.  Today at Assen, however, in what were described as 'treacherous conditions' by journalists throughout the world, the quiet man from Texas made a steep leap in the learning curve process by winning his maiden MotoGP race in The Netherlands, a track Spies noted was very special to him 'after having watched all his heroes' race and win there over the years. 

Today, Spies added to his hero status to us mere mortals by winning his first of what are sure to be MANY more race wins in the premier road racing series in the world.  And probably left even a few of us tearing up seeing him get that first big win in the process.  Congrats Ben for a job well done!

Ben Spies took the top spot on the box earlier today for his first win in the MotoGP World Championship at the Assen TT round in The Netherlands, breaking his cherry in the premier road racing series in the world after only 28 events.  The Yamaha Factory Racing pilot took his 50th Annivesary-laiden YZF-M1 #11 machine home to the victory over 2011 season dominator Casey Stoner on the #27 Repsol Honda by over 7.6 seconds, setting the fastest lap of the race on the 12th of 26 laps along the way.  Rounding out the podium at the Iveco Assen TT was the #4 Repsol Honda of Andrea Dovizioso another 20-some seconds back from team mate Stoner.

Spies caught the break he needed less then half a lap into the race.  After coming off the middle of the front row, 2010 MotoGP World Champion (and team mate to Spies) Jorge Lorenzo tried to make the pass on Elbowz, only to run wide in the first turn, allowing Spies the margin necessary to stay ahead of the mayhem that was to befall his team mate and allow him to gap the field almost immediately into the event.  Polesitter Marco Simoncelli on the San Carlo Honda highsided his #58 machine shortly thereafter just in front of Lorenzo's #1 machine, causing both to go down while the pack snaked by.  Both remounted, and in a ride that champions are made of, Lorenzo blasted back through the field to eventually finish in the 6th position, just over a second behind 5th place finisher Nicky Hayden on the #69 Marlboro Ducati. 

7-Time MotoGP World Champion Valentino Rossi overcame his 11th starting spot to garner 4th place, only his second time on the season inside the top 4.  Rossi's struggles with the Ducati GP11 have been well-documented on the year, and after receiving chassis updates for this round seems to be coming to grips with the needed-changes after an up-and-down weekend at Assen, and on the year overall.  Colin Edwards on the #5 Tech 3 Yamaha brought it home 7th, and Hiroshi Aoyama, filling in for injured Dani Pedrosa on the Repsol Honda, came home in the 8th spot.  Simoncelli managed to come up through the field after his first lap get-off to bring it home in 9th, and Toni Elias on the #24 LCR Honda rounded out the top 10.

Congratulations go out to Ben Spies for his maiden win in the MotoGP World Championship.  The man from Texas has now gotten that first win in his pocket and we, along with all of his fans around the world, are glad to help him celebrate.  Great ride today Ben!

Round 7 Assen TT stories and picture links of the race, in the 2011 MotoGP World Championship Series in The Netherlands

Here's the summary to the race as well as the results from the Assen round of the 2011 MotoGP World Championship, thanks to David Emmett and his great site:

Matt Beer at filed this report of the race with some quotes from Assen winner, 3-Time AMA Superbike Champion, '09 WSBK Champion, and '10 MotoGP Rookie of the Year, Ben Spies:

BBC has this great article, with a very nice shot of Spies on the Yamaha 50th Anniversary #11 YZF-M1 at Assen:

GP has some great photos from the weekend at the Dutch TT in Assen, as well as their event wrap-up here:

Results from the Iveco TT Assen, round 7 of the 2011 MotoGP World Championship's link to most recent results here (standard versions):

Round 7 Assen results here (PDF version):

2011 MotoGP World Championship point standings, after round 7 at Assen (PDF version):

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