Ben Spies’ absence due to his shoulder injury will extend to Laguna Seca. The Texan is still going through physical rehab to get the shoulder he injured at Sepang last year up to strength, and he hopes to be back to full fitness for the final US round of MotoGP at Indianapolis at the end of August.

With Spies still out for two more races, the Ignite Pramac team needs a replacement. Michele Pirro will take Spies’ place at the Sachsenring in just under two weeks’ time, but Ducati’s official test rider is not available for Laguna, as he has more testing scheduled that week at Misano in Italy.

As a result, Pramac has asked Alex De Angelis to step in for the Laguna Seca round, as the lack of a Moto2 round at Laguna means the NGM Forward rider is availabe to take Spies’ seat at the California circuit.

De Angelis already has MotoGP experience, having raced two seasons for the Gresini Honda team in 2008 and 2009, and having replaced Hiroshi Aoyama for three rounds in 2010.

Spies’ recovery is taking a very long time, an indication of the seriousness of the Texan’s injury. The shoulder is the most complicated joint in the body, and Spies suffered serious soft tissue damage in the crash in Malaysia.

Such injuries are slow to heal – Valentino Rossi estimated that he wasn’t really at 100% for 6 or 7 months after his shoulder surgery in November 2010 – and can be delayed if not handled properly.

Spies’ decision to go testing in Malaysia, three months after his surgery, proved to be the wrong one, he admitted at Mugello earlier this year. When he then tried to make a second return at Mugello, he quickly realized his shoulder was still not strong enough, and it needed more time to recover fully.

Riding with his shoulder still weak would have been dangerous, not just for him but for other riders, Spies told reporters at Mugello.

He had decided to return only once he was 100% fit and ready and able to ride a racing motorcycle. Before making a final decision to race, Spies would test himself on a race bike, preferably his MotoGP machine, and otherwise a Ducati Panigale as close to Superbike spec as possible. Below is the press release issued by the Pramac team on Spies’ absence, and De Angelis replacing the Texan.

Alex De Angelis and Ignite Pramac Racing Team together at Laguna Seca

Alex De Angelis is to step in as replacement rider for Ben Spies at Laguna Seca on the Ignite Pramac Racing Team’s Ducati Desmosedici GP13. The man from San Marino will be able to take part in the second US round this year due to the fact that the Moto2 World Championship is not scheduled to race that weekend.

Michele Pirro, Ducati’s tester and rider, will continue to replace the Texan until Sachsenring, but will not be able to take part in the American race because he is involved in a test session scheduled for Misano from 23 to 25 July.

Ben Spies is expected to return to racing at the Indianapolis Grand Prix on August 18.

Alex is not new to the top class, having already taken part in two seasons of MotoGP in 2008 and 2009, and also in 2010 as replacement rider for the injured Hiroshi Aoyama in three rounds.

De Angelis, who currently rides for the NGM Mobile Forward Racing Team, will get his first opportunity to try out the Desmosedici GP13, during the forthcoming Ducati test session scheduled for Misano this coming week. Alex will test the bike on Thursday 4 July.

The Pramac Racing Team and Ducati wish to thank the NGM Mobile Forward Racing Team and the San Marino rider for their availability in making possible this collaboration.

Photo: © 2011 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.

  • Jake

    Excellent news. Ben should be healthy just in time to hurt himself again on Indy’s horrible track.

  • TexusTim

    wow saw this morning on…I hope there is something in the works for there bikes this year or ben is wasting his time…o waite suzuki wont be back till 2015 so he needs a ride for this year and next…and the story continues.

  • Slangbuster

    Too bad Bautista already has a ride. I’ve always wanted to see a bowling ball go around Laguna.

  • jet

    This don’t sound or feel right.I’ve had shoulder surgery,w/ a very good therapist he should be ready easily by the laguna race.It’s not like he’s an old man,he’s healthy and strong.Wonder who is holding who back ?

  • Jw

    Why does Laguna only race the gp class?

  • TheSwede

    @ jet

    Nobody is holding him back. Riding a GP bike after a shoulder reconstruction is not the same as driving your car to a desk job. Every hard braking section is like doing a handstand pushup, if your body isn’t ready, it isn’t ready. He also banged it up again in Qatar trying to come back early, which set him back


    Laguna’s garages/paddock are too small to hold all 3 classes

  • Phil ( another one )

    @ Jw says:
    July 1, 2013 at 7:08 PM

    Why does Laguna only race the gp class?

    The track and facilities are too small to hold another group. Bit of a shame really as it’s one of the most spectacular tracks on the calendar.

    I can’t see Spies ever coming back to MotoGP.

  • Variable


    I think it’s more because MotoGP and AMA do a joint weekend. I mean how much sense does it make to say there is no room for the Moto2 and Moto3 bikes if they are running the AMA Pro Supersport class, the Supersport group A and B, Daytona Sportbike, and Superbike, and the E-World Cup. That’s a hell of a lot more bikes than you see on track in a normal GP weekend, and yes that’s going off the 2013 event schedule. But they can only fit one group of bikes? You sure about that?