The speculation on where Ben Spies will land for the 2013 MotoGP Championship can finally come to conclusion, as Ducati Corse has announced the signing of the American to its “Junior Team” for next season. Spies will be joined by Moto2’s Andrea Iannone, where the two riders will race out of the Pramac Racing garage, which has also renewed its partnership with Ducati. Both riders will use “official” equipment according to Ducati’s press release.

You may recall Ducati’s “Junior Team” strategy, where the satellite Ducati effort will be closely linked with the folks back at Borgo Panigale. It is Ducati Corse’s hope that having four closely equipped Desmosedici GP13 race bikes will aid in the development pace for the company’s MotoGP program. While Iannone is clearly a talent the team wants to develop for the future, the addition of Ben Spies to the Pramac squad ensures that a capable hand is on the bike from the onset.

Before taking the ride at Pramac Ducati, Spies was linked to a multitude of other offers, including Honda Gresini and Suzuki in MotoGP, as well as the factory BMW team in World Superbike. With each option having its drawbacks and advantages, Spies’ move to Ducati keeps him on factory/near-factory equipment, and perhaps more importantly, in the MotoGP paddock where better options could come to light for the 2014 season. Ducati Corse’s press release is after the jump.

Ducati announces agreement with Ben Spies and Andrea Iannone for 2013 MotoGP World Championship

Ducati announces that it has signed an agreement with American Ben Spies and Italian Andrea Iannone to compete in the 2013 MotoGP World Championship.

Having already confirmed Nicky Hayden and announced Andrea Dovizioso for the Ducati Team, the Italian manufacturer now reaffirms its confidence in and commitment to the MotoGP World Championship, finalizing its lineup for next season with two riders who are fast and competitive, already protagonists in the MotoGP and Moto2 World Championships.

At the same time, the partnership has been renewed between Ducati and Pramac Racing, which will continue to be entrusted with management of the satellite team. The two riders, who have a direct link with the company, will be supplied with official equipment.

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.

Source: Ducati Corse; Photo: © 2012 Scott Jones / Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved

  • Beewill

    Would this just be a stop gap for Ben to stay in GP and then spearhead Suzuki’s effot in 14′? Atleast thats what I read in to it. That also goes for Crutchlow and his return to Tech 3? Spies/Crutchlow to Suzuki in 14′?

  • smiler

    Cannot imagine that Ducati will be building a “junior” team simply to let BS go after a year. Hayden will be leaving end 2013 and Ducati need / would like to have a yank on a bike.
    With veteran Hayden, Ianone, Spies and Dovi, all proven, young and eager as well as Audi and Lamborghini, they might even be able to build a Ducati Prototype that is consistently quick. Rather than as Burgess and Rossi tried, to turn the Ducati into a beam framed Yamaha.
    Although a lifelong fan of Rossi I actually hope they give him a hard time.
    Spies will also need to perform or else no 2014 in MotoGP for him.

  • David Dungan

    Unless he is able to get a handle on it like Stoner did.

  • philly Phil

    niiiiiiiice. I’m not a spies fan, but i’m glad to see him on a ducati. i’m very interested in what he’ll be able to do with it. I really doubt he’ll have the technical issues he had the with the yamaha. i think they’ll let hayden go after next year if he’s not on top, and they’ll just throw spies in his place since he’s younger

  • KK

    AHHH i hope to god theres some underlying plan for spies.
    i truly hope this is a stop gap for him as id hate to see his career go more down the tubes if ducati cant become competative. Id almost rather him be on the suzuki protoype than a ducati right now

    Is this a one year deal? its kinda vague unless i missed it. A 1 year deal tells me hes got something up hi sleeves

  • David Dungan

    Audi doesn’t accept failure and I can’t ever imagine they would allow Ducati to hire Ben for one year.
    Remember indirectly they are competing with BMW ( cars and Motorcycles). After all the CEO of AUDI is a Ducati fan.

  • Patron

    I’m guessing since it says they were signed for 2013, its a 1 yr deal. I’m sure he was keen for a 1 yr deal to be able to jump to another option if ’13 doesn’t work out. He is a top rider no matter what his ’12 comedy of errors season has become. He will be highly sought out for any new team (BMW, Aprilia, Suzuki) trying to enter this class. Good luck to him. I think the new updates the Ducati team will be using at Misano will be a little foreshadowing as to what we can expect from them next year. It’s going to be interesting none the less.

  • TexusTim

    I wonder if they offered the satalite ride to crutchlow ? who just like dovi has finished better than the factory ride of spies at almost every round.

  • Joe Dirt

    For Ducati it is not a matter of “if”, but “when”. They spent a fortune on Rossi, Burgess & Co. which resulted in not much more than a soul crushing ordeal for both parties. But, with that being said, Ducati still has the Misano updates, other Rossi input that has not yet materialized and much deeper pockets thanks to Audi. Their time is comming and I’ll be happy to see Spies be a part of it!!

  • TexusTim

    I say Good luck Ben Spies….you paid some dues this year….refresh and next year have a harder work ethic at every round and every practice and qualifing then spank it during the race…to me Nicky Hayden is the hardest worker in the paddock you dont see him distracted or complaining very much and no matter what place he’s in he fights for his position when challenged….Ben has the skill to win a championship the question is has big money distracted or detracted from his work ethic but next season dont open anymore hamburger joints or resturants …focuse soley on the moto gp season,,,if not your legacy will be..”challenged but never won a moto gp championship” good luck next year.

  • SBPilot

    Two yanks and two Italians, great for Ducati. I really hope they ditch the British frame and go back to their own frameless design. As everyone now knows the carbon frameless was not the cause of the lack of front end feeling. They need to build off that design because it has more data and development than this quick fix British twin spar frame. Also, Stoner didn’t exactly do poorly with that frameless bike, so it’s proven to at least work to that level.

    Audi, as much as I dislike that brand, I hope they let Ducati go back to the frameless design and give them the funds to develop that design as per the suggestions that Rossi/Stoner had for it during their time on it. Ducati needs to go back to their racing roots. The Panigale needs to be connected to the GP somehow. Customers/riders/fans want to see the connection between road bikes and GP bikes somewhere. Ducati has always been the one to trickle the GP stuff down to the road the most, so I hope they go back to frameless.

    With this all star team now, they need to have a fleet of bikes for them to test back to back over and over and decide what to do. It’s not too late to “start over”.

  • Faust

    I have mixed feelings about this. I like Spies, but I don’t think he’d be a great replacement for Hayden in the future. Hayden has a star power and appeal that resonates with fans regardless of his race success (or lack there of with Ducati). Spies just doesn’t. If Spies and team are having trouble keeping up with Lorenzo on a good (except when it just mysteriously fails) bike, then what makes anyone think he can solve the riddle that is the Ducati GP bike? If Rossi and his team who have a lot more GP experience can’t figure it out (and Spies just obviously doesn’t have the raw talent of Stoner) then why would people think he’d be the one to figure it out?

    Now, I’m from the US, and live in Texas so I definately am not a Spies hater. I just really wish he would have went to WSBK so he could actually shine again. Some people are just not superb GP riders, but are great on superbikes (Bayliss comes to mind). It’s already agonizing enough to watch riders I like (Rossi, Hayden, Edwards) just circulating around the track with no hope of winning a race, but now I have to watch Spies do it too? I really hope the Audi money makes a difference, because right now WSBK is so much more fun to watch than GP. Sad.

  • Mormont
  • Bill

    @Faust… I completely agree with you.

  • TexusTim

    in all honetsy..ducati still hopes they find someone like stoner that gets on the bike and can ride it to it’s max…stoner was scared out of his mind many times trying and winning on the same bike rossi and them couldnt…we know it’s not out of range for hayden to be close if the bike is working but maybe dovi or spies can take it the next level or ducati makes a breakthru so it’s user friendly to any style…well see… I hate to see any great rider struggle…watching rossi this year was painfull.

  • I’m very much looking forward to seeing what Pramac will do next season. Spies and Iannone should make for some great racing. Crazy Joe in MotoGP? Hell, yeah!

  • MikeD

    Good luck to both Spies (and all the other riders with Ducati) and Ducati. They’ll need it…all they can get.


    +1 on going back to the “Frameless” Frame.
    Carbon…Aluminium…W/E they decide or set their strategy on…just please drop the Spars…it doesn’t belong around a Ducati Engine…or ON a Ducati Motorcycle for that matter.
    Yes, they need to FLOG as many prototypes as possible and try to “destile” a proper racer out of all those xperiments/crop…i know (it takes lots of money, but there’s not many ways to do this and they all require burning money….so…..).

    P.S: What was/is “the cause” of lack of front end feeling ?


    I think that’s on his mind too, linger inside…and see what comes around come 2014. I believe too he’s got a better chance at getting a different ride in GP staying in than jumping ship to SBK and try to hitch a ride again into GP.

  • MikeD

    TexusTim says: September 12, 2012 at 6:34 PM

    “in all honetsy..ducati still hopes they find someone like stoner that gets on the bike and can ride it to it’s max…stoner was scared out of his mind many times trying and winning on the same bike rossi and them couldnt…”

    U bet they do. A lot cheaper and faster “FIX” than trying to fix a “gotten worse over the years” crooked bike. No hate…i really wish Ducati get’s all their Ducs in a row (pun intended).

  • Westward

    Well, I had posted many a time that Spies should try his luck on a Ducati. Now it is thus. I believe Spies could be another Stoner-esque pilot for Ducati. I think Ducati’s decision to sign Spies could mean (like others have stated) that he will eventually replace Hayden in 2014.

    Hayden, though a popular and very nice guy, is on borrowed time. However, he does seem to be able to race a Ducati D16 to fourth position regardless of which type of frame it has, and that obvious accounts for something.

    Ducati’s alternative to Rossi looks promising and probably even cost them less. I too believe in the carbon frame-less project. Stoner has proved the concept works, it’s simply (or rather not) a matter of making it work for more pilots other than just him. The Panigale is leading the World Superstock 1000 so again it is proving it’s worth.

    It would be an awesome endeavor if they ran another team for a total of six machines on the grid, four twin-spar frames and two frame-less, or three each…

    The Ducati will be competitive. I seriously doubt Audi paid a billion (overpaid) to own a choice motorcycle brand only to see it fail in the arena of racing. It is not in the DNA of either entities…

    — O T F M

  • Westward

    Besides if Spies does not workout for Ducati in MotoGP, I have feeling they will keep him under contract and racing in WSBK…

  • Ben

    And there endeth Ben’s MotoGP career. At least he wasn’t reduced to being a CRT rider, eh ? As that was probably his only other alternative.

    Audi didn’t pay megabucks to Race Ducati motorcycles. They paid megabucks to sell Ducati Road bikes. Sure they will try, and I wish them luck, but they’re going to need a hell of alot more than luck to turn that pig of a bike into a winner.

    Why would Audi be able to change something that the likes of Burgess + Rossi couldn’t ? It’s not the bike, it’s the rider. Stoner, and then Rossi, both showed that, in their own ways.

    The fact that 28 year old Spies is now in the ‘Junior’ Ducati team shows he had no other options in the paddock.

    Should have gone the BMW WSBK and been a winner and a star again. If anyone thinks Pramac Ducati are going to be ‘competitive’ in 2013 against the likes of Pedrosa/Marquez on Repsol Hondas, JLo / Rossi on Factory M1’s – keep dreaming.

  • Joe Dirt

    Ben (not Spies) get your head out of your ass… BMW certainly wasn’t a success in WSBK overnight. In fact it took them a-lot longer that the time Ducati has spent with Rossi & Burgess in GP. Audi did buy Ducati to win races. Winning races equals sales, both objectives are linked! Which, by the way is something Audi is no stranger to (with a Diesel)! Success will not be immediate…but it obvious they are stepping up to make it happen.

  • David Dungan

    @Weatward, you sir should move to the front of the class. Somebody finally gets it, along with the folks @ Ducati.
    Spies on a Panigale in WSK 2014.

  • Westward

    Audi did not spend over a billion to just sale high end motorcycles. If that were so, they could have bought MV Agusta for a song. Audi has penchant for high-end design, engineering, and racing. Like Ducati, it is in their DNA.

    They bought a reputation in motorcycling, heritage in racing, and branding…

    What Audi provides is the ability to bring concepts to reality in less than a week, instead of in months. Rossi can’t be competitive if his input is implemented months later, and he needed it that weekend.

    Make no mistake, Pramac is a junior team in name only, the effort will be 98-100% factory. Their commitment to winning is evidence in their recent actions.

    If Ducati were a revolver, than Audi allows them to become an automatic weapon, to compete with the rest of the automatics…

    As for options. Spies was linked to Suzuki’s comeback effort, and the factory spec honda of the Gresini team, that Bautista inherited from Simoncelli. Also, if Spies had decided sooner, he could have had Crutchlows seat along side Smith. No to mention BMW tempted him with future pans of entering MGP on their machine.

    The Pramac Ducati gives Spies the greatest possibility to be competitive as soon as the 2013 campaign starts. Something that Suzuki, Kawasaki, Gresini, and Tech3 can not guarantee, that BMW might be able to, three to five years down the line.

  • Westward

    @ David Dungan

    I am a fan of Motorcycles first, Ducati second, followed by Rossi, Racing, and Spies in that hierarchy. Then everything else falls into place one way or another with HRC at the bottom and Pedrosa underneath that…

    * one caveat, Honda itself ranks closer to the top half, but below Yamaha…

  • Dave

    I also kinda hoped Spies would have gone back to WSB where he could shine…but then I’d have to watch all the WSB races on top of all the MotoGP. I don’t have that kind of time. Therefore, it’s best he stayed in MotoGP. I can continue to be a casual fan of WSB.

    Also, for the millionth time, today’s Ducati is not the same one Stoner won his 2007 championship on… …and not because I’m a Rossi, Hayden, or Spies fanboy. The Ducati you will see the Doctor on this weekend (hopefully Nicky too, depends on his hand) is an old crate on wheels in desperate need of massive amounts of development. If elbowz can’t win, place, or show next year it’s not because he’s washed up.