Katsuyuki Nakasuga is to replace Ben Spies in the factory Yamaha team for the final race of the season at Valencia. Spies, who had to undergo surgery on the shoulder he damaged in the race crash in Sepang, has been ruled out of the rest of the season. The race at Phillip Island had come at too short notice for Yamaha to find a substitute for the injured Spies, but the Valencia race allowed them to secure the services of Nakasuga.
The choice of Nakasuga is a safe and very conservative one, but it was always the most probable outcome. Nakasuga is Yamaha's MotoGP test rider, and would have been on hand in Valencia anyway. Nakasuga made an appearance at Motegi this year, where he finished a creditable 9th. Fans had been lobbying for either AMA champion Josh Hayes or former BSB champion Tommy Hill to take the ride. Hayes, in particular, had proven his worth with an impressive outing as a replacement for Colin Edwards at Tech 3 in Valencia last year.
Below is the official press release announcing Nakasuga to replace Spies:
Katsuyuki Nakasuga to Replace Ben Spies at Valencia
Phillip Island (Australia), 28th October 2012
Japanese Yamaha test rider Katsuyuki Nakasuga will step in to replace injured Yamaha Factory Racing rider Ben Spies for the final round of the 2012 MotoGP Championship, the Grand Premio Generali de la Comunitat Valenciana in two weeks time.
Nakasuga-san has already proven to be a trustworthy rider to handle the Factory YZR-M1, taking it to an impressive sixth place finish whilst substituting for injured Factory rider Jorge Lorenzo at last year’s Valencia Grand Prix. He was back again this year as wild-card for the Grand Prix of Japan with the Yamaha YSP Racing Team, again impressing with a ninth place finish.
Spies is currently at home in the USA recovering from injuries sustained in the Grand Prix of Malaysia one week ago. The Texan had successful surgery this week to repair torn ligament damage in the right shoulder and will need a recovery period of eight to ten weeks.