ON THE RECORD: Ben Spies, AMA and World Superbike Champion

Retired factory MotoGP rider offers next generation of American road racers sage advice.

Ben Spies 2006 Mid-Ohio race action

Everybody is trying to figure out the "right" way to train for MotoGP. Dirt track teaches you different things but nothing will get you in better shape than three 45-minute motos.

From a pure workout standpoint, if you can ride motocross four days a week and never get hurt that's pretty hard to beat. It's one of the most complete workouts.

Besides racing, running, motocross, and dirt track are the three things you need to do.

I flat-tracked a lot as a kid—a Honda XR100 with a street tire on the back—but never raced. Most people stick to one thing, but I think you have to get seat time in different disciplines.

MotoAmerica's KTM RC 390 Cup is a great series. It fills a void for guys and girls of that age to race at a national level in a competitive field. It's like the old Aprilia Cup but at the AMA races.

Fifteen should be the minimum age for Superstock 600. There are some 16-year-olds who can ride a Superstock 1000 bike and are fully aware of what they can and can't do. That's where it gets tricky.

Ben Spies on-track race action

When current top-tier riders were 12 years old, everyone knew those kids were going to get paid to race a motorcycle. They didn't know how good they were going to be but if they didn't get hurt that was going to be their job.

If you are one of those riders, you have to be on the money at 14 because if you want to win in MotoGP you can't get there when you are 26.

Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup is the best opportunity you can get. When I was racing, everybody watched the Rookies Cup races.

They see who is riding over their level and making mistakes. They see who is finishing eighth but looks like they are barely trying.

Kids who were in the top five or winning every other race were getting signed. That was automatic.

Racing with Mat Mladin made my racecraft better, and racing with Josh Hayes makes Cameron Beaubier's racecraft better. The only difference, really, is that Mat and I hated each other. That's why everybody liked to watch us.