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Oct 26, 2013

Ben Spies Retires From Professional Racing

Ben Spies (11), as seen on his Ignite Pramac Racing Ducati at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Ducati and Ben Spies announce the American’s retirement from racing competition

· Spies announces retirement after a successful career in Superbike and MotoGP

· Decision taken jointly by Ducati and the Texan rider

· Retirement prompted by doubts about physical ability to race next year

Borgo Panigale (Bologna, Italy), October 26, 2013 - Ducati Motor Holding and Ben Spies announced today that the American will not be racing in 2014 after the parties reached agreement to resolve Ben’s current contract with the Italian racing manufacturer. The 29-year-old Texan had signed a two-year agreement with Ducati at the end of last season to race in MotoGP in 2013 and 2014 as part of the factory-supported Ignite Pramac Racing Team.

Ben has been sidelined for most of this season due to an injury to his right shoulder sustained in October 2012 while riding for another manufacturer team. While he began 2013 racing with Pramac, it quickly became clear that he was not fully healed from his injury and needed to undergo further rehabilitation on his shoulder. Unfortunately, on his return to racing at Indianapolis in August, Ben had another setback when he suffered a season-ending crash during practice.

The resulting operations on both shoulders have left Spies feeling that his physical ability to ride next year remains in question and a decision was jointly made by Ducati and Ben to release Ben from any requirement to race in 2014.

The 2009 World Superbike Champion, three-time AMA Superbike Champion and MotoGP race winner announced his retirement from the sport in the following way: “I had such high hopes for racing for Ducati, and Ducati has been incredibly supportive of me during this challenging year, so I am tremendously disappointed that I have not been able to fulfill my personal goals and team goals with Ducati. I want to thank everyone from racing organizations, factories, teams and all my fans for helping me and supporting me throughout my career. I never dreamed that I would reach the level of success that I have over the past 20 years of racing, but the time has come to stop and I do so with great sadness.”

Spies’ manager/mother Mary Spies added: “Wherever Ben has raced over the years—from AMA Superbike to World Superbike to MotoGP—he has always felt the warmth and appreciation of the organizers, circuits, teams and fans. We are so grateful to them for their support.”

Ducati MotoGP Project Director Paolo Ciabatti declared: "We had high expectations when Ben joined Ducati in MotoGP this year, and we really hoped that he would fully recover from his Indianapolis crash injuries and continue to race for us in the future. However we understand the reasons for his decision and respect them. It is really a shame for our sport that Ben will not be racing anymore, because in our opinion he is one of the most talented riders in the world. We will miss him and wish him all the best for his future life."




More, from a press release issued by Indianapolis Motor Speedway:

AMERICAN MotoGP STAR SPIES RETIRES FROM RACING

INDIANAPOLIS, Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013 - American MotoGP star Ben Spies announced his retirement from racing Saturday, Oct. 26, ending his competition career at age 29 due to a shoulder injury.

Spies raced in only the first two events of the 2013 season on the Ignite Pramac Ducati as he struggled to recover from reconstructive surgery on his right shoulder in October 2012. Spies suffered the major shoulder injury last October in a crash during the Grand Prix of Malaysia.

"I had such high hopes for racing for Ducati, and Ducati has been incredibly supportive of me during this challenging year, so I am tremendously disappointed that I have not been able to fulfill my personal goals and team goals with Ducati," Spies said. "I want to thank everyone from racing organizations, factories, teams and all my fans for helping me and supporting me throughout my career. I never dreamed that I would reach the level of success that I have over the past 20 years of racing, but the time has come to stop, and I do so with great sadness."
Spies, from Longview, Texas, enjoyed a meteoric career on the world level. He won three consecutive American Motorcyclist Association Superbike titles from 2006-08 and won the World Superbike championship as a rookie in 2009 in his first season of global racing.

Spies climbed to MotoGP in 2010 with Monster Yamaha Tech 3, earning Rookie of the Year honors after finishing sixth in the World Championship standings. His best event of his rookie year was the Red Bull Indianapolis GP at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where Spies earned his only career MotoGP pole and finished second in the race.

Promoted to the Yamaha Factory Racing team in 2011, Spies earned his only career MotoGP victory in a magisterial ride in the rain at the prestigious TT Assen. He also finished third at Indianapolis, one of four podium finishes that helped him to fifth place in the points that season.

The 2012 season was a nightmare for Spies. He fought through illness, injury and numerous mechanical problems, finishing 10th in points with a best result of fourth for Yamaha Factory Racing before suffering the major shoulder injury in Malaysia.
Spies moved to the Ignite Pramac Ducati team for a fresh start in 2013. But he struggled with weakness and pain in his surgically reconstructed shoulder during preseason testing and finished 10th and 13th, respectively, in the first two races of the season.

Continuing pain and weakness in his shoulder and a chest injury forced Spies from his bike for the next two races. He practiced and qualified in late May at the Grand Prix of Italy but did not race due to persistent problems with his shoulder.
Spies attempted one more comeback, in August at the Red Bull Indianapolis GP at IMS. But that return ended early when he crashed during pre-qualifying practice and separated his left shoulder. That would end up as his final MotoGP event.

"We would like to salute Ben Spies for his remarkable career and are sad that injuries are forcing him from the seat," said J. Douglas Boles, Indianapolis Motor Speedway president. "Ben has been a fantastic ambassador for the Red Bull Indianapolis GP and for the exciting, great sport of MotoGP motorcycle racing in the United States, and we always will welcome him back to IMS with great affection and appreciation. We wish him the best of luck for the next phase of his life."