Ben Spies will not be taking part in French MotoGP at Le Mans in two weeks time, according to a statement released by Pramac Racing and they also announced that Ducati test rider Michele Pirro will replace him.
The Ignite Pramac rider already missed this past weekend’s round at Jerez to undergo intense rehabilitation after suffering a problem with nerve pain in his chest during warm-up in Austin, that hampered his race.
The Ignite Pramac rider was scheduled to undergo a further medical check up today [Monday] to asses his physical condition, after a previous statement from the team reported that he was spending five days a week doing more than three hours of rehab and an additional two hours of cardio work to alleviate the strain in his pectorals and back muscles, but apparently the doctors decided that the American rider is still not fit enough to compete.
Hopefully for Pramac, Andrea Iannone who will be undergoing arm pump surgery tomorrow in Spain will not suffer fitness issues in Le Mans.
Following today’s additional medical check in Dallas, the doctor supervising Ben Spies recommended that the Texan undergo a period of extended rehabilitation.
Despite his wish to return to the track as soon as possible, Spies will miss the French Grand Prix and will join the team again at the end of May, at Mugello.
At Le Mans, Ducati Test Team rider, Michele Pirro, will ride the Ignite Pramac Racing Team Desmosedici GP13.
When it was announced that Ben Spies would be skipping the Jerez GP in order to undergo further rehabilitation on his lingering shoulder injury, everyone assumed that Ducati’s test rider Michele Pirro would be replacing him as he was already scheduled for a wildcard entry for the third round of the season, instead Ignite Pramac Racing has announced on the eve of the Jerez weekend that there will be no replacement rider for Spies.
Pirro will be racing at Jerez, but as a wildcard, that way he won’t use any of the five engines that Spies has, and Ducati will be able use the Spanish event to continue development on the ‘laboratory bike’ that contains a number of updates to the Desmosedici GP13 and check its competitiveness before handing the new bike to factory riders Andrea Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden for official testing.
‘There will be no substitute rider for Ignite Pramac Racing Team racer Ben Spies, who stayed back home in Texas in order to undergo intensive treatment as he works to regain his physical fitness following the operation to his shoulder and the problem with his pectoral muscle, suffered during the last round, in Austin,’ confirmed Ignite Pramac Racing.
Spies who expects to be back for the Le Mans round added, “I want to give good luck wishes to the team for the race and also thank everyone who has sent me their best wishes for my recovery. I am doing my absolute best to get back to 100%, where I need to be, for the team and Ducati.”
In last weekend’s GP race at the Circuit of the Americas in Texas, Ben Spies said that he was suffering from nerve pain in his chest believing that it was caused by overcompensating his lingering shoulder issues, and then during Sunday’s warm-up felt a large twinge that almost made him decide not to race, but the Ignite Ducati rider gritted his teeth and rode to a 13th spot.
Apparently Spies’physical problems are much more serious than previously believed, as it has been confirmed that the Texas Terror will be forced to skip the third round of the season at Jerez (May 3-5) and will be replaced by test rider Michele Pirro, who was already scheduled to race as a wildcard by the Ducati factory team.
Ignite Pramac has released the following statement regarding Ben Spies’ condition and reporting that their rider will be back for the Le Mans round (May 19th).
Probably the biggest disappointment in the last pre-season test at Jerez was Ben Spies, with his 18th best time, two seconds off the pace and behind five CRT riders.
The new Pramac Ducati rider seems to be still struggling with shoulder recovery following the surgery he had last October and still isn’t quite fit, despite words of the contrary from the rider who said, “the shoulder’s actually improving quite a bit and I didn’t struggle with it, so I’m pleased with that and it’s a relief,” but Spies sat out the third day of testing to “preserve his shoulder without taking risks which could compromise the full recovery.”
“I found a rider who’s been struggling from all of last year’s crashes and couldn’t race in the final race of the 2012 season. He had surgery where they attached a tendon in his shoulder. Ben needed to recover from a series of blows, and accidents like his leave their mark: and their consequences go away only if you have time to recover. Spies has had time, but during the Sepang test there was still a risk of a relapse. When you have a shoulder and a weaker arm, you have to force yourself to use the other one more. I think Ben is an enormously talented rider. I’ve known him since he was 16 years old and was racing in the States and years ago I wanted to bring him into Ducati to race the AMA Superbike Championship … “.
Ducati’s Nicky Hayden and Pramac’s Ben Spies were at the Circuit of the America’s for the manufacturer’s US launch of the 1199 Panigale R, the extreme racing version of the Italian company’s Superbike with its four levels of adjustable swingarm pivot, titanium piston rods, carbon fibre bodywork, and Ducati Performance racing exhaust and livery.
The two American riders, that are both in recovery mode - Hayden after minor surgery earlier this month, and Spies who is yet to be 100% fit following his shoulder surgery last year - thus had a chance to check out first hand the Austin circuit where Yamaha Factory. Repsol Honda, and LCR Honda team riders tested three days last week, and saw MotoGP rookie Marc Marquez send everyone into a state of giddiness over his performance.
The COTA circuit will be hosting the second round of the 2013 MotoGP championship from April 19th to the 21st.
The final day of MotoGP testing at Sepang saw improvement by the top seven riders in lap times, but for the rest of the field, recovering the gap was slightly less impressive than yesterday.
Everyone seemed to be satisfied with the first test of the season, except for Ducati riders Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso. The two knew it would be difficult as they had no new parts to test - just old ones to re-test and the bike is still sadly very much off pace, just like in 2011 and 2012 and with the same old problems, chattering, traction and rideability. Ducati will have to perform some sort of miracle and with very little time to do it or pray it rains every race day.
Cal Crutchlow - 5th
“It has been a very positive week and I am where I expected to be and that’s right behind the top four factory bikes. I can’t really ask for more than that and I’m pleased with my lap times because my bike is almost identical to the bike I rode last year. Today I was doing a lot of laps on old tyres and trying to stay consistent and I’ve improved. I also feel like I’ve made good progress in improving on the brakes, so it has been a productive test and good to be back on track after the winter break. I’ve built up my confidence each day but it is obvious that 2013 is going to be incredibly tough. There is some amazing talent on really good machinery but I am really looking forward to it. I’ll be ready to give it 100% as always and come the first race in Qatar I’ll be ready to challenge. Credit to Bradley as we ll because he has done a fantastic job this week. This was his first proper test in MotoGP and he has got faster and more confident each day. I have been very impressed with him and it is going to be good being his teammate this season.”
Stefan Bradl – 6th
“The result of these three days of work is quite good for me. I think we have completed our job gathering more data ahead the next test here. Even today I was working on a raft of things from traction control, to suspension and brakes and Bridgestone gave us a new rear hard tyre to test. At the end I run the circuit 43 times growing my confidence on this bike. There’s more work to do before the first race of the season but we leave Sepang with a good base”.
Those three days of private testing that Marc Marquez had at Sepang late last November were just a mere hint of what everyone imagined that this sensational MotoGP rookie could do, because in today’s first day of official MotoGP testing at the Malaysian circuit, Marquez almost made everyone forget a certain Casey Stoner.
Marquez did not waste anytime rushing to the top of the timesheets immediately, and at the end of the day he finished third and just a mere 0.044s gap covered the rookie, Repsol Honda team mate Dani Pedrosa and reigning World Champion Jorge Lorenzo.
While we have to keep reminding ourselves that this is only testing, but the 2013 season seems to looking more brighter, as Dani Pedrosa took over the top of the timesheets in the final minutes with a best lap of 2’01″157 - which is 2 seconds off of Casey Stoner’s 2012 Sepang test lap of 1’59″607 - but the Sepang track still has to have a lot of rubber layed down following yesterday’s rain showers.
There are several different reasons why a company would want to sponsor or endorse a team or rider in MotoGP, that includes more brand recognition, enhancing their image, shape consumer attitudes and loyalty, heighten visibility and target specific markets.
When it was announced at the 2013 Wrooom that Ben Spies and his Pramac Ducati would be sponsored by Ignite Asset Management - a New York-based, alternative-asset-management firm led by a group of hedge-fund industry veterans and supported by private investors with a passion for motorsport - a lot of fans were left slightly puzzled, and wondering why an investment firm, a New York one to boot, would invest in MotoGP that still hasn’t gained the popularity in the US in a big way like in Europe and the Far East, despite racing in two - this season in three - American venues.
So why did Ignite decide to invest? You can watch Ignite Asset Management’s Ryan Bonifacino talking about the reasons with Matt Miller on Bloomberg Television’s “Bloomberg Rewind.
Ignite Pramac Ducati’s new rider Ben Spies is already making the PR rounds for Ducati - and also MotoGP - as he was interviewed by Matt Miller on Bloomberg Television’s “Bloomberg Rewind.”
Spies talked about how he is looking forward to riding Ducati, and about the Mugello circuit, (and footage of Nicky Hayden, Jorge Lorenzo and Casey Stoner), rivals and CRT bikes.
Too bad that Bloomberg got their facts regarding Spies’ accomplishments in MotoGP slightly wrong, he isn’t a MotoGP champion, but he is a MotoGP race winner.
To see the brief interview just hit this link.
Pramac’s Andrea Iannone and Ben Spies may be smiling in this picture at the 2013 Wrooom, but the two riders are still fighting to regain fitness ahead of the first official MotoGP test at Sepang early next month.
The MotoGP rookie revealed that following his nose operation for a deviated septum, a further medical further check-up revealed he also has been suffering from a cracked vertebra and the injury still doesn’t allow him to train properly. However he expects that in Malaysia to be in better shape, while team mate Ben Spies is in slightly worse physical conditions following the AC separation repair surgery he had to undergo late last October after crashing during a very wet Sepang race.
Normal recovery time for this type of surgery is from 8 to 12 weeks, but Spies recovery is taking longer than expected as he revealed during the Wrooom event as he sat out all the extracurricular activies, like skiing and snowboarding, because he still hasn’t built up enough muscle and strength in his shoulder and didn’t want to needlessly risk hurting himself.
“I didn’t think it would take so long and be so arduous, but we have to put up with it and still find a way to train, but I’m not in any pain. I’m currently at 60 to 70% fitness and hope to be at 80% for the first Sepang test so I’ll be able to to ride and do what I’m required to do. I’m not going to be reeling off qualifying laps and doing race simulations, but I’ll be fast enough to test and learn about the bike and the team, and maybe this situation will be even helpful, so I can study everything in detail, and then try to be ready for the second Sepang test,” commented Spies.