Ben Spies insists second place still satisfying after being denied Valencia win in photo-finish with Casey Stoner
|By Matt Beer||Sunday, November 6th 2011, 14:39 GMT|
Ben Spies said he still took a lot of satisfaction from second place at Valencia even though Casey Stoner denied him victory in the MotoGP season finale by just 0.015 seconds.
Spies fought through from fourth to catch and pass Stoner for the lead as drizzle intensified in the closing stages.
But with victory seemingly in the bag for the Yamaha rider, Stoner got a better exit from the final corner of the race and edged his Honda ahead as they took the chequered flag.
Spies had spent most of the distance fighting Honda's Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso for second as Stoner got away, and had no expectation of challenging for victory.
"It was a weird race for us because obviously the way the conditions were was very tricky," said the American.
"Once the race got underway I saw Dani and Dovi were battling it out. I knew they had a championship battle on the line too, so I was watching that and knew their tyre combinations versus mine and was just watching and seeing what was going to happen and waiting for somebody to make a move, and then I was just going to play off that and see what happened.
"Then it started to rain quite heavily and I made a couple of passes, and then all of a sudden Casey appeared in front of us."
Spies admitted that it was harder to judge his pace once he was in the race lead and unable to use Stoner as a marker.
"I followed him for a little bit and then he made a mistake and I went by, and once I got out there it was still raining quite badly and I had nobody in front of me so it was hard to determine how much grip was on the track," said Spies.
"The last two laps, I decided 'alright, this is first or second place, just get on the podium, but maybe we can win the thing. Let's just try to stay consistent.'
"He took a couple of risks on the last few corners and caught us. I tried to get a run out of the last corner but we lacked a little steam going to the line."
Having been unable to start the last two grands prix due to head and rib injuries sustained in a Phillip Island qualifying crash, Spies said he had to see second place as a positive way to round off the year despite the frustration of being denied a win by such a narrow margin.
"That's the way it goes," he said. "I'm happy to end the season like this. With the month I've had, it's been horrible. But we ended it with a good result and now I'm happy to start testing on Tuesday or Wednesday and start next season."