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.

Source: Ignite Ducati; Photo: © 2013 Scott Jones / Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved

This article was originally published on MotoMatters, and is republished here on Asphalt & Rubber with permission by the author.

  • Shawn

    I hate to say it, but it sure seems like Ben Spies is becoming a liability. Teams are paying a lot of money for him and receiving very little return on the investment. The whole idea behind the Pramac team hiring him was to help develop the Ducati, and to date he’s not really done that. I’m sure that the Yamaha people had to feel at least a little bit the same way. For one reason or another, the man just can’t seem to come to grips with Moto GP.

  • Saucier

    I’m not even a big Spies fan but I wouldn’t say he can’t come to grips with MotoGP. He’s had several podiums, won a race, and nearly won another. 2012 was a crap year that ended with a pretty horrific injury. I mean, they replaced his shoulder joint! I’ve never raced a MotoGP bike but I can’t imagine what kind of strength it must take to throw those bikes around, especially under heavy braking. I say give the man a break and lets give him the length of the contract to prove that he belongs in paddock. Let’s think long term.

  • Jason Marshall

    Spies has moments of greatness followed immediately by epic crashes. He is a good rider but part of being good is consistency and he lacks that. I don’t see him don’t much more in motogp and I don’t see any of the factory teams picking him up especially when Yamaha is shopping for younger riders to compete with Marquez in the future.

  • Faust

    I really wish he’d stayed in SBK so we’d have an American champ to root for there. I understand the desire to move to GP, but some people are much better at riding superbikes than GP (Troy Corser, James Toseland, Troy Bayliss, Max Biaggi, Carl Fogarty, Colin Edwards to name a few) and there is nothing wrong with that. I’d much rather see Ben dicing it up with Sykes, Laverty, Guinters, and Melandri for a superbike title than see him circulating mid pack. But hey, money talks and if they weren’t paying him good money, I’m sure he wouldn’t be there.

  • TexusTim

    he wasnt a big crasher before these injurys

  • CTK

    I dont know what the deal with his contract is, but dude is not of much use injured. They need to let him recover. The shoulder joint is probably the most delicate & damage prone joint in the body. You can’t half ass the healing process on it like an ankle or elbow or something. He should just sit out the rest of the season and focus on rehab. WSBK might not be a bad idea either.

  • Hope Ben is looking for a new ride in WSBK cause i think his chances of keeping a MotoGp ride are all done……….

  • TexusTim

    @ctk yes he may need to rehab for the next 6 months..he’s pushing his recovery..he’s under the gun right now
    @ dc4go he is way to big a talent to toss out of the game..I’m for major rehab and hit it with suzuki next year..or stay were he is, that may be tougher cuz all his ducatti rivals will have this year of seat time ahead of him…better for him to start with a clean slate next year on suzuki..they have some history and there is a world championship left in this guy. I still believe in him.

  • @Saucier: ” I mean, they replaced his shoulder joint!”

    Correction: They reconstructed coracoclavicular ligaments with donor tissue from a cadaver and reduced the separation of the acromioclavicular joint using a suture-based “twin tightrope” system. Due to the use of cadaver tissue to reinforce the ligaments, one would assume that Spies is now on a permanent diet of immune suppression drugs. Nasty.

    I enjoyed the same 2nd-degree injury to my left shoulder some 25 years ago, but never underwent surgery to correct the damage. Even without corrective surgery, recovery from the injury was measured in months. The weakness and pain using the shoulder during the recovery period simply cannot be imagined (or underestimated). I really, really, really hope that Ben gives his body all due respect and opportunity to fully heal. Whether he’ll manage results to make Pramac happy in time to renew his contract remains to be seen.

  • Westward

    Race when completely healthy, when you feel like you could make a podium and win.