Ben Spies definitely had a Sly and the Family Stone vibe during the Ducati Wroom preseason press event, almost doing everything but singing "Family Affair" as he complimented the different atmosphere at the Italian team compared to his first three years in MotoGP with Yamaha.
Spies is teaming with Andrea "Crazy Joe" Iannone at Pramac Ducati, which will have factory GP13 bikes and factory support this season in an unofficial "junior" team.
"What an organization," Spies said about Ducati. "I can feel the atmosphere immediately. I started to feel at home right away, even if I hardly know anybody. And, man, I was not really excited about the idea to fly from the USA to here for just two days, at first. No regrets, now that I have come, at all.
"It is totally different (than Yamaha). Ducati is really like one big, happy family. I knew it before, and now I can also feel it. It is completely different than with the Japanese. I was also wondering myself why the Ducati fans are so passionate, but I can see it now.
"Japanese guys are different," Spies said. "Not bad, but different. This is the same good feeling I had with Yamaha in (World) Superbike. The brand was from Japan, but the team was Italian."
Spies won the 2009 World Superbike title for the factory-backed Sterilgarda Yamaha team, based in Italy. He made his MotoGP debut in 2010 with Tech 3 Yamaha and moved to Yamaha Factory Racing for 2011-12.