Ben Spies was, and perhaps still is, America’s great white hope when it comes to MotoGP racing. A sensational young rider, Spies cut his teeth in the AMA on six class championships before going onto winning the World Superbike Championship in his rookie season.
Fast-tracked into MotoGP, Spies served his time, by rule, in Hervé Poncharal’s Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team, before finally getting the nod into Yamaha Racing’s factory outfit.
Fans expected a punctuated evolution from Spies when he put on Yamaha’s blue and white factory colors, as the Texan had shown great promise at Tech 3, and surely now with the very best that the tuning fork brand had to offer, Spies’s star would continue to rise, and a new generation of American GP domination could be ushered into the premier class. That was the hope at least, as unreasonable as it was.
Coming off a disastrous season at Yamaha in 2012, which ended with Yamaha declaring it had lost faith in the American, and Spies throwing a wrench in Yamaha’s marketing machine at the US GP at Laguna Seca, the hope would be that Spies’s move to Ducati would be a fresh start.
Instead, Spies entry into the Ignite Ducati squad has been a non-starter, with the Texan competing in only two grand prix races thus far this season. Instead of redemption, we have seen frustration, which perhaps is what brings us to today’s news, if you can call it that.
A day doesn’t go by where someone takes to the internet to vent their frustrations, and even lash out at another person. Removed from physical confrontation, and mixed in with a layer anonymity, services like Twitter show mankind’s great disposition to becoming an asshole, 140 characters at a time.
With all that has occurred in the past, and the previous paragraph said, it should then come as little surprise then that before it was promptly deleted, the following was tweeted from Spies’s official Twitter account, “Off to surgery tomorrow! Bet Carlo is so excited he wont remember to wipe the powder off his nose.”
The Carlo in question is presumably MotoGP powerbroker Carlo Pernat, who also happens to be the manager of Andrea Iannone (Spies’s teammate) and Alex de Angelis (Spies’s likely replacement), and the comment made is surely done so in light of the rumors that Spies could be ousted from his seat at Ducati for his lack of performance this season. Needless to say, the tweet caused some waves.
Mary Spies was quick to deny on SuperbikePlanet that the message came from Ben, or if it did, it came as a side-effect from the pain-killers used ahead of Spies’s surgery. Mary also added that, at the very least, Ben knows six men named Carlo, which lay doubt over whom the GP racer intended to receive his social media barb, though she doubted it was in reference to Mr. Pernat.
With the incident reaching tabloid levels in Italy, and getting some attention here in the United States as well, I have little interest in exploring the he-said-she-said nature of this story. For me, the issue between the interested party ends with Ben and Mary Spies apologizing to Carlo Pernat via phone, with the Italian telling GPone that “the matter was closed” as far as he was concerned — and so that’s where the story here ends for me as well.
As a singular incident, the Ben Spies Twitter fiasco doesn’t rise beyond the petty gossip news that is more akin to TMZ’s fascination with Miley Cyrus twerking at the VMA’s. However, taken in the light of everything that has happened over the past season and a half for the Texan rider, one has to raise an eyebrow.
I don’t believe in bad luck, I believe in shit happens. Sometimes you can manage the shit that happens to you, sometimes you can’t, and that is pretty much the crux of life.
When approaching this article, I didn’t want to get mired down in the GP gossip — so many other publications do such a better job of that than A&R. Just as quickly though, I didn’t want to let this incident fall through the cracks either — as so many other American publications will undoubtedly do because of their proximity to the issue.
I think the ultimate point I want to make is that too many “unlucky” things have happened to Ben for luck to be a factor in their occurrence.
One day perhaps we will know the full backstory that connects these incidents with a narrative that revolves on reason rather than superstition. Until then, I wish the Texan a speedy and full recovery. He still remains our great white hope for an American on the podium come Sunday afternoon.