Ben Spies has decided to pull out of the Mugello round of MotoGP, after struggling on the first day of practice at the track. The Texan continues to have problems with a weak shoulder, as he recovers slowly from the surgery performed to correct the damage done in his crash at Sepang last October.
This is the second time that Spies has been forced to withdraw after returning to action too early. After a short period of physical rehabilitation, Spies went straight into winter testing, and then participated in the first race at Qatar, in which he struggled. He tried again at Austin, but was forced to withdraw from that race after developing severe strain in his pectoral muscles as they struggled to compensate for the lack of strength. Spies then decided to skip both Jerez and Le Mans, to recover from both the chest strain and the shoulder surgery, before coming back at Mugello.
Mugello's fast changes of direction have proved to be too difficult to handle, especially maintaining the fine control of throttle and brake while he muscles the bike around. In consultation with his team, Ducati and the physical staff, he has decided to withdraw from the race at Mugello, in order to have further medical checks on his shoulder. Doctors told Spies after Austin that it would take at least three months to get back to full fitness, but Spies was determined to come back as soon as possible. He told reporters on Friday that he had felt strong during training, but riding a bike turned out to be a lot harder than he had estimated, especially at Mugello, with its fast direction changes.
The Ignite Pramac team have not announced when they expect Spies to return, though it seems optimistic to expect him to be at Barcelona. An announcement will be made once he has consulted with medical specialists.
Below is the press release from the Ignite Pramac team:
Ben Spies forced into a further stop
Unfortunately yesterday’s free practice sessions highlighted the muscular problems still afflicting Ben Spies.
The intense rehabilitation activities which the Texan has undergone in the last 4 weeks have brought about a clear improvement but it still not sufficient for Spies to demonstrate his true potential on the track.
After an analysis of the situation, the Pramac Racing Team, Ducati Corse and the rider have taken the mutual decision to continue rehabilitation and physiotherapy and to interrupt all track activities to allow Ben to complete his total physical recovery.
In the next few days Ben Spies will undergo further medical checks in order to have a clearer appraisal of the situation and evaluate the treatment to be followed for full recovery.