Ben Spies To Miss Le Mans, Return At Mugello

Ben Spies' long road to recovery from the shoulder injury he suffered at Motegi last year has gotten a little longer. Today, Ducati boss Bernhard Gobmeier told reporters at the Jerez post-race MotoGP test that Spies had been advised to skip the Le Mans round of MotoGP in France, and only return two weeks later at Mugello.

Spies is still recuperating from shooting pains in his chest caused by overcompensating at COTA in Austin, when he raced there two weeks' ago. The Texan received medical advice that he should miss one more race before attempting a return. Ducati test rider Michele Pirro will ride the Ignite Pramac Ducati as a replacement for Spies. As a replacement rider, Pirro will have to use the bike fielded by Pramac, rather than the laboratory machine he raced as a wildcard in Jerez.

Below is the official press release from the Ignite Pramac team:

Ben Spies back on track at Mugello.

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.

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I'm a Spies fan and have been since his AMA days, but it's getting harder and harder to defend BS11. My wife keeps saying he's lost all heart and has no battle left in him. My retorts just have her rolling her eyes these days.

Last September, I crashed in a race, broke my collar bone and did some internal damage to my shoulder - it's a complicated joint. I have, however, gotten back up to speed and am healed up. I know it takes a long time and a blasted shoulder definitely sticks with you, but four weeks for chest pain?

I hope Ben comes to Mugello in fighting form. He has a lot of catching up to do on the desmo.... I'd love to see him come back and claim his rightful space in Moto GP. Otherwise, give the spot to Pol or Redding. We need some more moto2 lunatics in the premiere class.

At what point does a battered rider or a recovering rider get the all clear to race? How is their fitness assessed in order to protect the people they race alongside and the rider from himself?
Pain is the body's way of telling you to stop what you are doing because damage is being caused. Whether that's gritting your teeth or riding with pain killing injections there is a point where to continue is foolish and dangerous.
It seems most riders and the paddock in general are a bit cavalier in this regard and injured riders are lauded because of their "fighting spirit" or "heroic rides" for pushing through the pain barrier. I do think the riders are sometimes their own worst enemies but the medical officials also have a case to answer. In the case of Ben it seems like he's aggravated the injury by not allowing it to heal properly before subjecting it to the rigours and stresses of preseason testing and two full motogp rounds before his body finally forced him to listen to what it was trying to tell him. The teams should also have a responsibility to the welfare of their employee, and also take measures protect him from himself not least by removing the pressure forcing them to ride injured, from the riders head. The last thing anyone wants is an injured rider causing further injury to himself or others. Get well Ben, get fit and come back 100%.

I don't think any of us can tell how injured Spies really is. However, Pirro did a good job in finishing where he did yesterday - how long before the factory think about making the switch permanent? Is Spies on a one or two year deal?

There is no doubt that Spies was battered and bruised last year crashing at least 15 times and leading all motogp riders in that unfortunate category. But in racing, just as in all sport, it is the ability to heal and ride through pain coupled with all their other necessary gifts that sees someone earn a name for themselves on the world stage and in the premier class. Ben always got up last year (except Sepang) and I wonder if the die was cast?

Beyond taking a physical beating I have to think that his ego took a few hits, too. And while I cannot know why he decided to go from the factory Yam team to a Sat Ducati when there were a few SBK seats open, I wonder if this season will further damage his reputation and will prevent him from getting on a contending SBK ride.

As an American, I hope we see otherwise, but I sense an inglorious exit for him.

Also, to answer above, I looked but could not find proof that he signed anything other than a 1 year deal.

He already knows he can go back to WSBK and dominate. MotoGP is the limelight and the show. It's also where the money is at. He's not retarded, he's a business man.

Either the Ducati will turn good, or he will be on one of the suzuki seats next year.

I see it extremely hard to believe he will be cast out without any options after this year.

All it took were a couple of rumblings about his cycling hobby and all of a sudden he's the most demotivated GP rider on the grid.

I agree with MikeAtCCC, in the fact it is getting harder and harder to defend Spies. He had a year that was so jacked last year from his own mistakes, to injuries and bike failing in ways I have not seen in a race in my entire life. But he is beginning to fall into the James "Bubba" Stewart area for me. Both have the talent and speed, but once they start crashing and being injured it seems like they cannot seem to climb over the problems and move forward anymore.

I wish the best for Ben because he has the talent, but I would be lying if I did not think he has lost a mental edge he used to have.

Spies will need to come back and be the lead Ducati man. He has to, if he is planing on staying in GP with a decent ride. Its different than two years ago or even last year. There are some very fast and young riders waiting to move up. If he cant show the speed he showed in his first year, then i cant see Suzuki giving him a spot when they have many other options. I wish him well, but i fear he's lost that edge needed in GP.

As for WSBK, i wouldn't be so sure he could just go in there and wipe the floor as some say. It's a bit different then when he was in. And I'm a HUGE Haga fan.

I would not be surprised if he rides for Suzuki next year and finds his mojo again.

At the same time, I think it is too early to write him off on the Ducati. He surely has had a big share of bad luck in 2011 and he still suffers from the after effects. The question is of course if Ducati can make a real step forward. But even then I think he may very well be in the 'old nest' again in 2014.

I don't think it's valid or fair to measure a racers "drive" by their performance whilst injured. If he says he felt " I’d just been stabbed in my chest..." I don't know what reason we have to believe otherwise.

Cal, Pedrosa, Stoner have all had chronic injuries. And if I recall, they weren't finishing on the podiums in spite of their injuries. To the contrary, it wasn't until they were well and truly healed that we got to see where they were truly capable of finishing.

Ben has only suffered one bad season thus far. This year may well make two but if he can beat Iannone, at least, then only his second year on the Yamaha should be considered a disaster. As others have pointed out, that was, in large part, to never before seen failures and the effects thereof. Tech3 year and year one on the factory Yamaha would be now seen as perfectly acceptable IF he had gone on to have substantial success last year.

It is easy to lose faith or dismiss a rider, especially when struggling and there seem to be fast alternatives waiting in the wings. Many have struggled on the Ducati so three rounds into his first season on board is too early to draw conclusions.

Of course there is another rider whom struggled horribly on a Ducati and has proven to still have the speed to compete. Thus even with another year struggling he should not easily be dismisssed and could prove a 'cheap' yet proven rider for Suzuki.

As for returning to WSB, having won the series first time out, I can easily see why that would seem a lesser option to him.

Spies should just go ride his bicycle full time. The Ducati is worthless (I know, just wait until next year, LOL) and Spies has lost his motivation and doesn't seem to care at all. I guess he is just in it for the paycheck, why else would you leave the championship team for a team who has not won a race in 6 years.....

when was the last piece of *good news* about Ben Spies ? Even him joining Ducati was worthy of a groan. Just don't think you're going to hear anything good from him at Ducati for the next couple years, and that's sad. A force in WSBK and a promising start to MotoGP has led to nothing. Does anyone really think Suzuki is going to seriously challenge Honda or Yamaha even if he does join them ?

WSBK is madly competitive now - The Kawasakis and Aprilias are pretty awesome, as is the line up of talent. He could still do well there, but to say he would dominate is a bit optimistic.

Get better Ben !

I just feel the need to leave a comment referring to the posts above.

Ben is not done! He has a 2 year contract with Ducati, not Pramac. Ducatis Plan was it to get rid of Hayden and give Ben the full factory ride. Things didn't work out as planned so far. But Ducati hasn't given up on him and so should we!
Ben is currently in a level of frustration that none of us can imagine. Its hard for him to sit at home. He wants to get out there and beat the others but he cant. He's a risk to himself and others on track. We should have respect for that decision as well.
He hasnt ridden the Ducati at 100% yet, who are you to know if he can change things around or not?
The person who said he's only in for the paycheck...dude, he doesn't need that paycheck! He wouldn't risk his life if he wouldn't love it anymore. The reason why he stayed in GP was his will to win in the premier class!!!
Yamaha ditched him. They didn't leave him a choice! Would you stay in a team that makes you feel uncomfortable and is not able to give u a safe bike?
When Yamaha knew that Vale was interested in coming back, Ben was gone. It was him who did the first step but there wasn't really a choice. They wanted him out! When he was leading the race at Indy, Lin Jarvis looked as grumpy as always and then boom, as if someone has pushed the red button his engine blew up whereas Jorges bikes never had ANY technical issues! Does that not make you question and doubt a few things? Theres so much stuff going on behind the scenes that I find it ridiculous for us to comment on it!

Whats everyone problem with his cycling? Its his hobby! Cal, Nicky, Randy, Smith, Scott...they all love cycling!? its a good training for them and thats got nothing to do that they wanna give up racing. thats complete bollocks!!
I could go on and on about it. There's always critics out there.
But Vale is the best example. 2 years of zero success, no smiles and not the Vale we knew. Back to Yamaha and boom theres a victory. Don't write Ben off.
He has the will and motivation, otherwise you wouldn't train over 12h a day with intense physio etc.