Ducati MotoGP new-boy Ben Spies has revealed the reasons behind his switch from the factory Yamaha team to riding a Desmosedici GP13 this season.
The Texan said he wasn't able to ride the YZR-M1 as it needed to be ridden in order to win races. His Superbike riding style - brake late and hard, carry less corner speed and fire the bike out the other side - was nothing like as effective as Lorenzo's smoother style.
"I tried for a long time to ride like Jorge. But our styles are completely different. My natural style is not the smoothest, not the highest corner speed. I like to brake hard, get the bike turned and fire it out of a corner like a Superbike," he told Cycle World.
"It’s hard to completely “180-degree” your riding style. Bike setup changes a lot. You’d be surprised how much softer Jorge’s spring and damping rates are than mine, especially for how fast he’s going. But he’s super-smooth on the bike. If you can get away with that, it’s good because you can generate more grip.
I rode Valentino Rossi’s YZR-M1 at Valencia in 2010. I did five or six laps, but there was no way I could ride fast; it was too soft. We started fine-tuning the setup for me, and I went faster than Valentino had gone on the same bike during the race weekend.
"It’s all about feel. If the rider is comfortable, he can ride the bike to its limit. Same goes for lines around the racetrack; there’s no perfect way to do anything."
The 2010 World Superbike Champion considered switching back to his old stomping ground with BMW, but a great offer appeared from Bologna which he found hard to turn down.
"Ducati wanted me on their bikes this year. San Carlo Gresini Honda wanted me really badly, too. I spoke with Fausto Gresini, Shuhei Nakamoto and Livio Suppo at Brno. I told Gresini what I would like, what it would take to get me on a Honda. But Ducati never let that become a possibility. They were ready, and Honda wasn’t.
"Finally, I came to the conclusion that it was going to be either BMW in World Superbike or Ducati in MotoGP. The package that Ducati put together is an ideal scenario for me. Andrea Iannone will be my teammate. We’re going to have the same Ducati Corse colors but different sponsors. I will have factory bikes, factory everything.
"Tom Houseworth will be my crew chief, and Max Bartolini will be my engineer. I asked for Max based on what I’ve seen him do in the past, what he currently does with Ducati’s GP program and after talking with a lot of people. I told Ducati that I had to have Max. They were surprised but in a good way; they knew I’d done my research.
"Ducati is going to do the best they can. They know what they’re doing. Last couple of years, they’ve been headed in a direction that may not have been the best for them. I think Audi is going to do a lot for Ducati, but it’s not going to happen overnight."
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