Ben Spies was delighted to get his 2011 season going with his maiden podium finish for the factory Yamaha MotoGP team at Catalunya.
After a luckless start to the year that had seen him taking just two sixth places finishes from the opening four rounds, Spies came home third in Spain today. He had said before the weekend that he just needed a straightforward race to get his confidence back, so was very happy to have achieved that.
"It was a really important race," Spies admitted. "We needed to be there [at the front]. We've just had some bad luck at the beginning of the season, and this weekend was good. We didn't have any really great luck, but just nothing went wrong. That was important.
"I made a really good start and just tried to hold the pace. We made quite a big change to the bike before the race, I was on a set of forks that I've never run this weekend – so it took me a couple of laps to get used to them. After that we just settled into a pace."
Spies held off Andrea Dovizioso and Valentino Rossi throughout the race, and finished not far behind leaders Casey Stoner and Jorge Lorenzo.
"Dovizioso was 0.8sec [behind] the whole race and I had to keep pushing and pushing," said Spies. "It's great for me and the team. The team's been behind me the whole time. They believe in me and at the end of the race it was just great to see the two guys in front of me – I could actually see them on the front straight. So I was really happy with that. Hopefully, we can keep this going."