Ben Spies defended his decision to sit out today's wet MotoGP practice session at Phillip Island, saying he felt there was nothing to gain by running in the conditions.
The Tech 3 Yamaha rider made only a three-lap exploratory run, leaving him at the bottom of the time sheets, 17 seconds off the pace. The injured Dani Pedrosa also limited himself to a handful of laps, but most riders completed between 15 and 25 tours – with further wet weather expected tomorrow.
"There wasn't a lot to be gained out there today," said Spies. "I did a couple of laps and it is not the rain and the cold, but the wind was so unpredictable it was making it quite dangerous. I couldn't really brake on the right line and to gain anything out there this afternoon I'd have to ride so on the limit that it wasn't worth taking any risks. If it was Saturday morning and it was going to be like this all day I'd have stuck in a full session, but I wasn't going to learn much when the conditions are that bad.
"I didn't want to risk getting hurt or tearing up any equipment and making the guys have to build up a new bike for tomorrow just because I made a mistake in less than ideal conditions. Hopefully the weather will be better tomorrow and we can get some serious work done, because I love this track and am confident of another strong performance in the race."
Spies' teammate Colin Edwards covered 19 laps. He agreed that the wind had made running almost impossible, but felt it was still worth working on wet setups.
"That's got to be some of the worst conditions you'll ever have to ride in," said Edwards. "The track was still wet, it was freezing cold and the wind was blowing at 900mph...
"But after the delay I guess we were just lucky to even get some time on track. The wind was pretty unpredictable and going into the first corner it was unbelievable. Once you pass the finish line it just blasts you from the right and I had to turn my handlebars while I'm going in a straight line just to fight the wind. And then you have to turn the handlebars back to brake. That is all happening at a fast speed and it is a pretty weird sensation.
"It was a session where the times don't really matter that much so we treated it like a wet test. We played around with all kinds of stuff on the bike. So, as miserable as the conditions were, it was still a pretty worthwhile session and we learned a few things that can help us in the rain in the future, particularly with the balance of the bike."