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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
From RRW: http://roadracingworld.com/news/article/?article=31357

"Two-time AMA Superbike Champion Ben Spies says he will race a factory Suzuki GSV-R800 in the two American rounds of the 2008 MotoGP World Championship.

“We pretty much know we’re gonna be doing Indy and Laguna,” Spies told Roadracingworld.com February 6, referring to the MotoGP rounds at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in September and at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in July. “It looks like we get to test it [GSV-R800] once for sure before then and hopefully twice. It should all be good, but definitely both American rounds, from what I understand. But it’s obviously not in the contract, so it’s not 100%. But that’s what they say, and I’ll be ready to do it.”

Spies, whose current contract with American Suzuki expires at the end of 2008, said he has not yet made any deals for 2009"


If Suzuki is at all competitive, I think he might have a really good chance at being on the box at Laguna. He destroyed Mladin there both times last year. RL Hayden did the best of all Americans on a Kawi GP bike last year there (off course N. hayden and Hopper had that run-in!), so I think Spies has a good chance there.
 

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Has he does, I was surprised to not see him out there last year...
 

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As much as I would like to see Spies in GP, I don't know if we should count our chicks before they hatch. The talent level in GP is at a whole other level than AMA. Not only that, Spies dominates the AMA, really because of the bike that he's on. No shot to Rizla Suzuki, but that bike is run-in-the-mill. You put what I consider a talented, but not gifted rider, like Spies, on an average bike like the GSV-R and maybe a top 10 finish, but on the bottom side of that.

Remember also, that the GSV-R doesn't like Laguna because it's so tight and small. The GSV-R just doesn't have the punch out of the corners to keep up with the big boys. Kawasaki on the other hand, it ridiculous out of the corners, almost raw which I think works well for a SBK rider like RL Hayden.
 

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would u say that hopkins is more gifted then spies? considering all hopper did was win 1 formula extreme title against not so top riders.

spies has won 2 ama titles and i believe a 600 title all against top notch riders.
 

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As much as I would like to see Spies in GP, I don't know if we should count our chicks before they hatch. The talent level in GP is at a whole other level than AMA. Not only that, Spies dominates the AMA, really because of the bike that he's on. No shot to Rizla Suzuki, but that bike is run-in-the-mill. You put what I consider a talented, but not gifted rider, like Spies, on an average bike like the GSV-R and maybe a top 10 finish, but on the bottom side of that.
Huh? The GSV-R got pole position and 5th (Vermeulen was leading the race until he had engine problems) in 2006 and 2nd place in 2007 at Laguna. If anything Laguna has been kind to the GSV-R in the last two years.

As far as Spies' talent level, he is beating Mat Mladin who is riding as hard as he has ever ridden on the same bike. You can't say its just the bike because if it was Tommy Hayden and Aaron Yates (in 2006 when he was a Yoshimura rider) would have been racking up wins too. Nicky's superbike title came when the 750 cc Suzuki had to compete with the 1000 cc RC51 so you can't say that Nicky didn't have a great bike too.

At this point Spies has a much stronger resume than either Hayden or Hopkins had when they left the AMA. Maybe Hayden or Hopkins would have won more if they had stayed but the point is that Spies looks at least as good as those guys did when they stepped up.
 

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Huh? The GSV-R got pole position and 5th (Vermeulen was leading the race until he had engine problems) in 2006 and 2nd place in 2007 at Laguna. If anything Laguna has been kind to the GSV-R in the last two years.

As far as Spies' talent level, he is beating Mat Mladin who is riding as hard as he has ever ridden on the same bike. You can't say its just the bike because if it was Tommy Hayden and Aaron Yates (in 2006 when he was a Yoshimura rider) would have been racking up wins too. Nicky's superbike title came when the 750 cc Suzuki had to compete with the 1000 cc RC51 so you can't say that Nicky didn't have a great bike too.

At this point Spies has a much stronger resume than either Hayden or Hopkins had when they left the AMA. Maybe Hayden or Hopkins would have won more if they had stayed but the point is that Spies looks at least as good as those guys did when they stepped up.
Thank you for your opinion, but nothing that I've seen of Spies has really impressed me. Yeah, Mladin did race his butt off last season and it came down to one point. But Mladin isn't in his prime anymore, as much as, he or anyone would like to think. And as far as comparing the 750 Suzuki with the RC51, there are obvious differences between a four and a V-Twin, but you already knew that.

Don't get me wrong, the RC51 was and still is a phenomenal bike, but you can't deny that the #1 and #6 Yosh Suzuki's are a cut above any other bike on the grid, including the Yosh that Tommy is riding... Also, Tommy is still getting used to the bike, so it's not fair to compare him to someone who's been riding it for years.

As far as Hopkins is concerned, I would say he's equivalent to Spies. He's got talent, but, at least for Hopper, he's inconsistent and hot-headed. He makes too many mistakes in a race to consistently ride at the front. Like I said, don't get me wrong, I want to see Spies in GP too. But don't crown him before he gets a chance to ride. RL Hayden picking up 10th at Laguna was great, but there were a number of issues that allowed that to occur.

As far as the Laguna being friendly to the Zuks... 2007 was a tire race. So, don't make much more of it than it was. 2006 also had tire and track issues, and they finished almost 40 seconds off the pace?
 

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Thank you for your opinion, but nothing that I've seen of Spies has really impressed me. Yeah, Mladin did race his butt off last season and it came down to one point. But Mladin isn't in his prime anymore, as much as, he or anyone would like to think. And as far as comparing the 750 Suzuki with the RC51, there are obvious differences between a four and a V-Twin, but you already knew that.
Ok, but Mladin was hurt for a good deal of the year when Nicky won it. Any way you slice it you have to give Spies as much credit as Nicky when he left the AMA championship.

Don't get me wrong, the RC51 was and still is a phenomenal bike, but you can't deny that the #1 and #6 Yosh Suzuki's are a cut above any other bike on the grid, including the Yosh that Tommy is riding... Also, Tommy is still getting used to the bike, so it's not fair to compare him to someone who's been riding it for years.
You could also say it is not fair to compare a rider with a lot more experience to a younger more inexperienced rider like Spies. And if you ask anyone in the AMA paddock, they'll tell you its not just the bike [Yoshimura Suzuki]. To take away from Spies just because he has the best bike on the grid would be the same as people who try to discount Rossi's success on the RC211V or Stoner's championship last year.

As far as Hopkins is concerned, I would say he's equivalent to Spies. He's got talent, but, at least for Hopper, he's inconsistent and hot-headed. He makes too many mistakes in a race to consistently ride at the front. Like I said, don't get me wrong, I want to see Spies in GP too. But don't crown him before he gets a chance to ride. RL Hayden picking up 10th at Laguna was great, but there were a number of issues that allowed that to occur.
I'm not crowning him, I'm just saying that Spies has achieved as much and more than Nicky and Hopper did in the AMA so to say he's not gifted would be selling him short. The guy has 4 AMA titles, and won both the Superstock and Superbike title last year. Spies' AMA record puts him int the same company as Rainey and Lawson before they started racing GP's. Will he achieve the same success as them on the world stage? Maybe, maybe not. But he has as good a chance as any of the other Americans at this point.

As far as the Laguna being friendly to the Zuks... 2007 was a tire race. So, don't make much more of it than it was. 2006 also had tire and track issues, and they finished almost 40 seconds off the pace?
Well there were a bunch of Bridgestone-shod bikes on the grid and only one of them finished ahead of the Suzuki. In 2006 there were tire and track issues but everyone had the same conditions to deal with and Chris the V took pole and led a good deal of the race. Of course, a lot of it has to do with the fact that Vermeulen has been doing well at Laguna since his WSBK days. But Spies goes very well at Laguna too.

At any rate Laguna has given Suzuki some of their better results in 2 out of the 3 years they've been there so to say somehow Spies would be at a disadvantage on the GSV-R at the track isn't supported by the results.
 

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Ok, but Mladin was hurt for a good deal of the year when Nicky won it. Any way you slice it you have to give Spies as much credit as Nicky when he left the AMA championship.
No, I don't.

You could also say it is not fair to compare a rider with a lot more experience to a younger more inexperienced rider like Spies. And if you ask anyone in the AMA paddock, they'll tell you its not just the bike [Yoshimura Suzuki]. To take away from Spies just because he has the best bike on the grid would be the same as people who try to discount Rossi's success on the RC211V or Stoner's championship last year.
Rossi demonstrated that he could win on a slightly inferior bike two years in a row against the mighty 211V. And yes, Stoner won in large part because the bike was so good out of the box. This is not to say he's not talented, much like I'm not saying Spies ain't talent. But talent cannot make up for a machine's deficiency, unlike how a machine can close the gap between less talented riders.

I'm not crowning him, I'm just saying that Spies has achieved as much and more than Nicky and Hopper did in the AMA so to say he's not gifted would be selling him short. The guy has 4 AMA titles, and won both the Superstock and Superbike title last year. Spies' AMA record puts him int the same company as Rainey and Lawson before they started racing GP's. Will he achieve the same success as them on the world stage? Maybe, maybe not. But he has as good a chance as any of the other Americans at this point.
I didn't say, don't give him a chance. I'm talking about the 2008 GP races he'll be riding in. To think that he'll do any better than breaking the top 10 is generous, given how weak the GSV-R is compared to every other bike on the grid. He ain't going to be racing on a Yosh Zuk.

Well there were a bunch of Bridgestone-shod bikes on the grid and only one of them finished ahead of the Suzuki. In 2006 there were tire and track issues but everyone had the same conditions to deal with and Chris the V took pole and led a good deal of the race. Of course, a lot of it has to do with the fact that Vermeulen has been doing well at Laguna since his WSBK days. But Spies goes very well at Laguna too.
WSBK is a cut above AMA. I wouldn't put Vermeulen in the same breath as Spies, for better or worse. They're different riders.

At any rate Laguna has given Suzuki some of their better results in 2 out of the 3 years they've been there so to say somehow Spies would be at a disadvantage on the GSV-R at the track isn't supported by the results.
Where you place in a race isn't the only gauge of how a track has been to a machine. I'm talking about times here. Being 40 seconds off the leader is not something to just brush off. Look, either way, there's nothing you can say that's going to convince me that Spies has what it takes to hack it with the current crop of GP riders.

I look at the 2008 grid and I'm just wetting my pants waiting for the season to begin. And to be honest, the top 10 are just in a different league than Spies. That's my opinion. Obviously, you have another. Let's just agree that we disagree. Give Spies maybe 3-4 years on a GP bike and maybe he'll catch on. At least he'll learn that you can't crash and start again to win a race.
 

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yea have to agree there ^^

Yoshi team has done a FATANSTIC job developing that bike! But yea stick him on an average bike and you have a different result...

The only thing I think Spies will have going for him is the knowledge of the track. That has proven to be a HUGE advantage! Whether it's here in the US or for them overseas.

You see so many 250 guys stepping up over there and can step right in and take off, where a good US guy just can't seem to get it. I don't care how many practices you get in the off season, when a guy(s) has been doing trackdays and races at a particular track (like the MAJORITY of the GP races - considering the 1 or now 2 that occur in the US) you are out numbered.

I think he'll be considered as having a decent result (top 10? I dunno about that...) but the experience of the track will help him alot!

Like Soop said, IMO! :)
 

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Ok, but Mladin was hurt for a good deal of the year when Nicky won it. Any way you slice it you have to give Spies as much credit as Nicky when he left the AMA championship.
No, I don't.
If you want to be fair you do. Its clear that the Yoshimura Suzuki is the best bike on the grid but at the time it was clear that in 2002 the HRC RC51 was the best superbike in the world. It won the AMA title, the WSBK title, and the 8 Hours of Suzuka that year. And we all know that given equal rules a v-twin with an extra 250 cc of displacement is going to have an advantage against an inline-four.

So let's look at the record. Spies has 2 Superbike titles, as well as a Superstock, and Formula Xtreme title. But you're not giving him as much credit as Nicky? That doesn't seem reasonable or fair. I'm not saying he is faster than Nicky is or was in 2002 but he deserves at least as much credit as Nicky for his AMA record. Throw the guy a bone.

Rossi demonstrated that he could win on a slightly inferior bike two years in a row against the mighty 211V. And yes, Stoner won in large part because the bike was so good out of the box. This is not to say he's not talented, much like I'm not saying Spies ain't talent. But talent cannot make up for a machine's deficiency, unlike how a machine can close the gap between less talented riders.
You just contradicted yourself. First you said Rossi won on an inferior bike (I assume you're saying due to his talent ) but then you say talent can't make up for a deficient machine.

I didn't say, don't give him a chance. I'm talking about the 2008 GP races he'll be riding in. To think that he'll do any better than breaking the top 10 is generous, given how weak the GSV-R is compared to every other bike on the grid. He ain't going to be racing on a Yosh Zuk.
You do realize that every single full-time rider on the grid last season finished in the top ten at least twice right? Its not so far-fetched for Spies to be able to do the same, especially when two other wildcard riders did it last year on a satellite Honda and a Kawasaki no less.

And come on now, the GSV-R finished 4th and 6th in the championship last year. Its not the best bike on the grid but it certainly isn't a turd. Its possible they won't be as competitive this year as last but at this point the same can be said of just about everybody (except Stoner/Ducati).

WSBK is a cut above AMA. I wouldn't put Vermeulen in the same breath as Spies, for better or worse. They're different riders.
The point is that Vermeulen did well at Laguna in a lower class (he did well there in WSS too) and that Spies does well at that track too. That will play to his[Spies'] favor the same way it did for Vermeulen. Can't say how much that will help him of course.

Where you place in a race isn't the only gauge of how a track has been to a machine. I'm talking about times here. Being 40 seconds off the leader is not something to just brush off. Look, either way, there's nothing you can say that's going to convince me that Spies has what it takes to hack it with the current crop of GP riders.
Hey don't let the facts get in the way. Spies has a stronger AMA record than all but one of the American GP champions. Doing well in a lower championship doesn't guarantee GP success but to say that he doesn't have what it takes to hack it with the current crop of GP riders just isn't supported by the facts. You may not like Spies or have your opinion of him but it doesn't change the fact that he has done more than everyone but Eddie Lawson. But who knows, maybe you don't think anything of Kenny Roberts Sr., Freddie Spencer, Wayne Rainey, Kevin Schwantz, Kenny Roberts Jr, or Nicky Hayden either.

I look at the 2008 grid and I'm just wetting my pants waiting for the season to begin. And to be honest, the top 10 are just in a different league than Spies. That's my opinion.
Sure.

Yoshi team has done a FATANSTIC job developing that bike! But yea stick him on an average bike and you have a different result...
Conversely, put an average rider on a great bike and they won't get great results. And by the way, this is the same argument that someone trots out in just about every motorsport where someone wins a championship with a superior machine. People said it about Schumacher/Ferrari, people said it about Rossi, people said it about Doohan, people said it about Lewis Hamilton last year, and people are saying it about Stoner. Bottom line is that great drivers/riders get the best machinery and they make the best use of it.
 

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You're right. I'm wrong. Rossi isn't the greatest of all time and Spies is his equal. That is all.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
At least he'll learn that you can't crash and start again to win a race.
I have to disagree with most of what you have said, but this part funny, but alas true...
 

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Can't wait to see him race, its going to be a fun one.
 
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