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Ben Spies Stays in MotoGP with Pramac Ducati

Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Ben Spies - Factory Yamaha 2012
The 2012 season with Yamaha didn't quite pan out for Ben Spies, who will contest 2013 aboard a satellite Ducati.
Ben Spies will stay in MotoGP. The former AMA and World Superbike champ will campaign the 2013 season aboard a satellite Ducati alongside Italian Moto2 competitor Andrea Iannone. The satellite team will be run under the Pramac Racing banner for 2013.

Spies has endured a tumultuous 2012 season aboard the factory Yamaha. Mechanical failures have contributed to the 28-year-old's sub-par results on the track, with the American currently 10th in the points. Spies also courted drama off the track when he announced his departure from the Yamaha team before the Laguna Seca round. Speculation at the time had him slated to return to World Superbike – racing for the BMW factory squad. However, the Texan was subsequently linked to rides that would keep him in the MotoGP paddock, including Gresini Honda and most recently the Ducati satellite team.

A two-man Pramac satellite squad restructures the existing Ducati strategy, which for the past two years has provided bikes to solo rider teams run by Pramac (rider Hector Barbera) and Cardion AB (rider Karel Abraham). It is a return to a more familiar arrangement, as Pramac has traditionally fielded two-man Ducati squads in the past.

Ducati says of the move that “This agreement will enable additional important support in the development of the Desmosedici MotoGP project, offering a further opportunity in the process of improving the performance of the Italian bike.”

The Desmosedici project has floundered during the past two seasons, with nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi winless during his much-hyped tenure with the Italian marque. Rossi left to fill the factory Yamaha seat vacated by Spies.

The factory and satellite Ducati teams will mirror each other with an American/Italian duo. Former world champion Nicky Hayden is the longest tenured of the Desmo riders, and teams with newcomer Andrea Dovizioso on the factory team - who has outperformed Spies on his satellite Yamaha this season. Spies’ new teammate, Iannone, is completing his third season in Moto2. The 23-year-old has won eight races and scored 18 podiums in Moto2, but his most recent accomplishment was testing the factory Ducati MotoGP bike at Mugello, where he managed to lap faster than the outbound Rossi.

Ducati's announcment now leaves all the prototype MotoGP bikes accounted for in 2013, save for the Gresini Honda - a position currently occupied by Spaniard Alvaro Bautista.
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LueShong   October 1, 2012 12:08 AM
Always been a huge fan of Spies since his AMA days and was mesmerized by his storming WSBK ride. But "call me crazy...." I'm inkling on a conspiracy theory here..... Rossi has it bad with Ducati and hints at a return next season with Yamaha. Spies has a sensational rookie year and great first year on the factory team but then Rossi is coming back and Spies has a shite season? Most of which were mechanical... Tire chunks and engine blows while Lorenzo is perfectly fine? He should've taken the BMW WSBK ride, like Stoner said; the thing with Ducati is that parts never arrived on time and given the "factory supported" deal it's going to be always late than ever. I'd rather be winning in a competitive class, GP is dumbing down anyhow. Sure, it's nice being a developer but being WSBK is more of a challenge.... Just listen to most road racers, if they DO want to move to GP then they want a factory ride or stay. Look at Rea and how Crutchlow keeps bangin' on about a factory ride. Just hang in there Spies, Suzuki will be back with you as their #1 rider.
cggunnersmate   September 13, 2012 05:45 AM
Ben wants to stay in the MotoGP paddock and this is probably the only way he could do it and still get a decent paycheck (at least for him). I'd like to know how long his contract is for, haven't heard that yet but I'm betting it's only for 1 year. If so, I bet his plan is to race on the Ducati Junior team (pretty much what it is going to be) next year and then move on to be the number one rider on the Suzuki team when they return to GP in 2014.

He made mention in a now deleted tweet that he was looking to go back where he belonged (many believed that a reference to Suzuki) as they are currently testing a new GP bike. It's been reported to be an I-4 as opposed to a V-4 they had on the old GP bike and that is sounds similar to the Yamaha M1, so expect it to have a crossplance crank and similar firing order to the M1.

Let's hope they can field a competitive machine.
moomoodeadcow   September 12, 2012 10:16 PM
Nice call on blaming the rider for a dead engine.
eligovt   September 12, 2012 05:17 PM
Wow, nothing like stacking the deck against you. All the best Ben; can't get any worse than what Yamaha has given you this year.
RaptorFA   September 12, 2012 03:12 PM
And let me just say this; a BMW effort in WSBK would have been a great oppurtunity as well, but when you are offered a factory ride in MotoGP, the show, you take it. He belongs in the premier class.
RaptorFA   September 12, 2012 03:10 PM
I thnk that given the circumstances this was the best move he could make. The Gresini ride would have been a bit nicer, maybe, but I honestly do not think they could afford him. And there is no gurantee that it will be a "factory" bike. With DucAudi, he will be riding a full-on factory bike with factory support. And I believe that with the new resources at hand, DucAudi will start turning things around. It won't happen over night, but Ben can lead the charge to redemption - for both Ducati and himself.
Gray22   September 12, 2012 02:33 PM
This is a bit of a surprise. However I think it does make some sense. Ben Spies is one of the best road racer in the world take rider weight out of the equation and he would be challenging for a podium every race day (there has not been a single racer weighing more than 140 pounds to make it onto the podium this season). Spies recognizes he is an elite rider and I think he simply wants to race with the best in the world, and he has every right to. With Audi now owning Ducati perhaps we can expect to see more money thrown at the Ducati Moto GP program, and as we all know more than any thing else money wins races. Spies walked away with the WSBK title he needs to be challenged in GP. I am a fan of Ben Spies and I wish him luck next season.
KNSGTI   September 12, 2012 12:20 PM
I'm scratching my head on this one.....I was for sure thinking he was going back to WSBK....Has he not learned anything from Valentino's experience with the Ducati.
MotoFreak   September 12, 2012 10:26 AM
Does anyone else think this is a horrible move for Spies? I would think a competitive bike in World Superbike is far better than a garbage bike in MotoGP. Spies will still be my favorite and I am a loyal follower (unlike Yamaha), but I was hoping for a winning season in World Superbike on a BMW.