Moto GP

Ben Spies misses Estoril after sighting lap crash

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It was a tough afternoon for Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Ben Spies at the Grand Prix of Portugal after the American crashed on the sighting lap and failed to make the start.

Spies had impressed all weekend on his first visit to the Estoril track. Spies was confident of a strong race despite having never completed a single lap of the track in the dry. But he crashed on the second of two sighting laps at turn four and was unable to start the 28-lap encounter.

Spies suffered a dislocated left ankle and aggravated injuries suffered in Le Mans and Silverstone earlier in the season. The 26-year-old will now travel to Spain where he will undergo MRI scans on the ankle, though he is determined to end his outstanding rookie campaign by participating in the final round in Valencia next weekend.

"I knew the race was going to be tough because I had never turned a lap in the dry on this track," Spies said.

"The first sighting lap was fine and on the second I just made a mistake at turn four. Aoyama and Capirossi were in front of me and they nearly did the same thing. I just didn't have the left side of the tyre heated up enough and it spat me off. I'm frustrated because I'm sure even in the dry I could have had a fairly good race. I've hurt my left ankle again and it's pretty painful right now. I'll have some more scans in Spain but my intention is to go to Valencia and race and hopefully do the test too. We'll have to wait and see but that's my plan right now."

Team Manager Herve Poncharal said, "I was standing on the grid when Race Direction told me that Ben had crashed at turn four and I feel really sorry for him because all weekend he's done an incredible job. He'd never seen this track and in atrocious conditions he was always one of the fastest on track. When you look at the race it is not impossible to imagine Ben being capable of fighting for the podium again. We hope he'll be fine for Valencia and I know already that he wants to race. Congratulations also to Jorge for another fantastic win in what has been an amazing year for him and Yamaha."

Main Photo: Ben Spies

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