Former MotoGP Rookie of the Year Ben Spies qualified in twelfth place today, with a best laptime that was four seconds off Marc Marquez's pole-setting fastest lap. He'll start tomorrow's race on the fourth row at his home GP.
Spies said after qualifying that he and his team made a major setup change for the qualifying session, and it wasn't an improvement.
Spies seemed surprisingly ambivalent about the downer of a qualifying session, and he was brutally honest about it.
"Even if Ducati gave me a bike that I could win on, right now, I'm not ready." Spies said the combination of his still-healing body and his overall lack of familiarity with the Ducati means that he's still got a way to go in order to be competitive.
He'll almost certainly never get to compete in a MotoGP event that's any closer to his Texas home, friends, and family than COTA is, so you'd think his current situation would be that much more frustrating for him. He may, indeed, be frustrated, but his stoic demeanor is successfully masking it.
At the completion of this media interview, Spies good-naturally punched me in the stomach. My sense is that his strength is coming back.