Ducati Confirms Ben Spies And Andrea Iannone In Ducati Junior Team

Ducati Corse today confirmed that for the 2013 MotoGP season, Ben Spies and Andrea Iannone will ride for the Ducati junior team to be run by Pramac. Both Spies and Iannone will have factory Desmosedicis at their disposal, and the team will be kept very close to the factory team. The Pramac structure will be put in place to run the team, being promoted from satellite team to a junior factory team, with ties much closer than in the current situation.

The idea, as explained to MotoMatters.com at Mugello by Ducati boss Alessandro Cicognani, is to use the Ducati junior team to help develop the Desmosedici, and provide more input into the development process. By signing two riders who have already proven themselves to be fast, Ducati hope to accelerate the development of the bike, aiided in no small part by their new owners, Audi. The fact that both Spies and Iannone have been signed with Ducati rather than Pramac signals the intention behind the team.

Below is the press release from Ducati announcing the signing of Spies and Iannone:

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.

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let me get this straight: Spies turned down factory Yamaha in favour for satellite Ducati?

Spies left Yamaha but to my knowledge there was no offer by Yamaha to keep him, and let's be honest, the Rossi deal was in the works for a lot longer then most think.

That doesn't seem to be the consensus. Yamaha was taken by complete surprise by Ben's decision to leave the factory squad and only then did Rossi reach out to Yamaha. Yes, doesn't sound like he had an offer yet, but considering how bad of a start he got to the season that isn't a surprise that they'd wait a while. The general consensus right before the Laguna Seca round was that Yamaha planned on giving Spies an offer.

Long before Ben announced he was leaving Yamaha, it was known to all that Rossi had an offer from Yamaha for the factory team, and Ducati/Audi were trying their best to convince him to stay on the Duc rather than accept the Yamaha offer. Valentino himself talked about his options, on the record. This goes back to Sachsenring. In fact, the strong consensus (based on speculation) of pundits and journalists was that he would go to Yamaha.

The only other consensus was that, *IF* Rossi stayed at Ducati, then Ben was in a strong position to retain the ride rather than Dovi or Cal. Indeed, this was all confirmed by Jarvis at Brno, and reported here as well.

Bottom line: It is absolutely wrong to say Rossi reached out to Yamaha after Ben vacated the seat. The full details of Ben's decision making process are unknown to the public at this time, but it is clear that "jump before being pushed" was certainly part of what Ben was considering.

The only thing Yamaha were caught out by was that they hadn't finished the deal, and so Rossi suddenly had more bargaining power.

Spies likely decided that if Yamaha were intending to ream him, he might as well return the favor.

Look, I am no fan of Spies.. but I think he was told that Yamaha will get different rider for 2013. So he made decision.

It looks that ducati is going to be very aggressive in development. That may be good idea.

Spies had very, very bad year. Ducati Junior team is great idea for him. No pressure, bike is not competitive... so any good resoult is high praise.

Why not?

I did not see this one coming. I don't think turned down a ride with Yamaha. I think Yamaha told him all year that he was worthless to them. He knew he was not going to be resigned.

Hope for his sake Audi can help. If not.....

I dont think Audi and Ducati are staying in motoGP for fun. To much money to be on the back of the grid. They have a plan for sure. How much time to see them on the top? O do not know .. but they sure have a serious plan.

Well pleased Ben Spies will still be in Motogp next season, it would of been another big loss to the GP`s if he didn't stay. Just hope Ducati can now build a more competitive bike for next season with a better dynamic weight balance.
If Ducati don't improve their bike for next season, in my view Spies is more capable of riding around faults and getting a good result than Dovi is, who seems more of a clinical rider -- but i could be wrong !

Guess Spies REALLY, NEVER, EVER wants to win a MotoGP race again.

How long before Audi decides the entire MotoGP effort is a giant waste of time and more importantly money. Ducati currently sells a zillion bikes a year, sold a zillion before MotoGP and will sell a zillion after; being in the series is a waste of money for them. If racing produces sales for them it's in Superbike racing, not MotoGP. Their entire appeal is sticking with Desmo valves and V-twins, neither which are used in motogp.

Audi has shown they're willing to spend hellacious amounts of money to be at the front of a prestigious series, I imagine they'll take the same view with MotoGP. Hopefully they'll slap the hell out of the people holding back the development.

Audi is involved in other series where they compete to prove their technological superiority over rival German marques BMW and Mercedes-Benz, as well as Peugeot in the Le Mans series.

There is a significant amount of prestige attached to being the winner of those battles, and it seems that 2 of the German companies are keen to wrest the technological mantle away from the Japanese (one via SBK).

It's also good to see Auto-Union back in GP racing, even if it is via the circuitous process of Auto-Union's bastard child adopting an Italian waif.

Will hardly be worse off than he has been riding a Yamaha that has either blown up or fallen apart under him too many times this year. Of course, he better leave his Yamaha pit crew behind, or it will be the same old thing. So we will have two Southern Boys and two Italians riding Ducatis in 2013. Perhaps we will see a new cuisine develop...

My bet is there will be progress in the camp once Rossi and his stupid demands for completely different frames has flounced off back to Yamaha.

Ducati could do a lot worse than to pull out the 2010 carbon fibre frame 800cc bike that won races (and set race records that STILL STAND), look at the data they had from those successes, then get the chassis accurately measured on a GMD Computrack. From there they could see if it is possible to build a similar chassis with the same winning geometry around the 1000cc V4 engine. That would seem to be the way a professional team would go forward: starting from a proven winning base.

It will be fruitless to pursue the losing Rossi formula that has seen them go backwards for two years.

But even with Rossi's ego removed, there may still be other egos getting in the way - Hayden & Spies seem to be free of that, but Dovi??? And then there are the crew chiefs and engineers. Lamborghini will need to take a very firm hand to sort these out right from the start.

A few could be sent to stand in the corner with the old Dunce's cap firmly pulled on...

"Ducati could do a lot worse than to pull out the 2010 carbon fibre frame 800cc bike that won races (and set race records that STILL STAND)"

I could be wrong, but I don't think it was the bike that set those lap records.

You can be as fast as hell... it will not help you. Today tires are the main problem. Forget old days. If the tires go "I am just ready to sleep mode" ... even Stoner would not have the chance. So old carbon frame really don´t matter. Forget old times.

MotoGP motto today is: " can we adapt to the tires??"

We saw that from Honda, Yamaha ... and Ducati.

Do not blow the tires!!

We have big chatter!!

Huge chunks of tire missing..


Actually once Ducati went to the CF chassis their results got worse, at least Stoner's did. In 2007 they had custom made tires suited to their bike and every year since the results have gotten worse for them with any rider aboard, including Stoner. If anything Ducati has proven an inability to cope with tires in comparison to Yamaha and Ducati. That lies with the frame and the engine layout. Rossi's "stupid demands" were for front grip and get the front end to handle correctly. As he has even stated he is not an engineer. How to implement what the rider needs or wants based on feedback is Preziosi's job. Rossi's ego was never in the way. Generally when you win 100 races in this sport, only the 2nd man to ever do so, you should probably listen as that guy probably knows what he is talking about and it's far from "stupid" or "ego."

let's kick the italians out of Ducati, and start again from the "proven winning base"...
I wonder if you're 8 or 80 years old... so much hate in the world... eh eh eh...

All of the sages like to say that your first job is to beat your team mate. In that respect the GOAT was an ideal team mate. He could reliably be counted on to qualify behind Nicky and more often than not, he would be polite enough to finish behind him. (The statistics may or may not support this claim, but really...does it matter???) Spies will be a tougher guy to beat, assuming that he gets the "good" Ducati...and then there's the mad man Iannone...he may be tough to out qualify and then beat. Nicky's in for a hard year.

Personally...I'd prefer to see Ben in WSBK (along with Nicky...and may be the GOAT)...it is a better series and I suspect he would have a better chance to run at the front. Good Luck to Ben and Ducati!!!

I didn't see how long Ben was signed for 1 or 2 years. I wouldn't be surprised if it's a one year deal while he waits for Suzuki to get it's act together and get back in MotoGP in 2014.

I wonder if Ben will be getting any insider tips from his good friend Casey as to how to get the most out of the Duc.

You really think that will help?

I would like to see Stoner on Ducati today.

I would like to see him end the race sliding with rear wheel like in old days. And tires go puff... after 10 laps.


And isn't the application of throttle that ruins the rear fastest? Exactly which rider has the reputation for being best at throttle control? You might be shocked at the results, unfortunately we'll never know...

..but Honda presented whole new bike for chatter problem. Problem that put Stoner on the back of the group. Why was Stoner had so much problems at Mugello (8 place) with bike that is up there with Yamaha? And you think he is capable to win on Ducati at this time? Give me a brake.

to compare a rider against his team mate, Nicky (a great rider) was never near Casey, yet seems remarkably close to Vale. Do I think Casey could win a championship on the Duke? No, but I do think he would be far more competitive on it than Vale.

As previously mentioned, Ben could be doing the waiting game for Suzuki to be competitive again. Rumor has it that Suzuki is going to field a factory WSB team again soon. Maybe they need more time to develop the MotoGP bike. Ben better get tips from Stoner about riding the ducati. If Spies outperforms Hayden, will he be the new posterboy for American sales? Take Hayden's official (red) factory seat? Ducati is set to grab more attention in 2013 than they did with Rossi on the team, especially if/when they land on the podium regularly.

I am glad Spies is staying in MGP. I hope he is just marking time for a Suzuki come back. I'm pretty sure that Yamaha bridge is burnt for sure. That's a shame since he did bring them their only WSB title in brilliant form. Though, any chance for a GP championship is well out of hand for Ben at this point.

Ducati can say what they will about "Jr" factory teams. The unwriten rule says, only the factory wins dry races. The Jr team may provide data but unless Spies or Iannone do something special over the main team...

I honestly believe that it should be the other way around. Spies and Iannone in the factory team with Dovi and Nicky in the Pramac squad. Nicky is with Ducati from 2009. 3 podiums, 0 wins, 0 poles, 0 fastest laps in 4 years. Come on. I know he's a nice guy, he is very talented, but this is the top of motorcycle racing. My opinion is that he was thrown in MotoGP too early, and he never got to develop that extra edge to constantly win races. 2 home wins and a lucky win in Assen in 10 years of MotoGP isnt sea spliting (with arguably the best bike in that era). Melandri, Pedrosa, Gibernau- Honda riders like him got much more wins and no world championship. Dovi is similar. He doesnt have that edge. I pray to God that im wrong, but if I had to bet on who will win with Ducati in 2013... im not picking Nicky or Dovi.

Off topic: Why the hell nobody didnt make an offer to Melandri?

Stop insulting our intelligence ... Pedrosa is a Top10-GP winner, all-time great, 3x WC, who gets his MotoGP career going right now as he is transforming himself into a (little but true) man ... Hayden? Nice guy who (more or less accidentally) won a MotoGP title on the best 990cc bike against a misconstructed M1.

I'm cautiously optimistic that the second half of '13 will see a Ducati resurgence.

IMO, it all depends on how much loot Zee Germans are willing to spend on chassis and motor iterations. (Without a Furusawa-class engineer, iteration is their only hope.) If they can whip up a respectable number* of variations of the critical components, then mix, match, and experiment with those parts, I think they have some hope of converging on a well balanced machine. They certainly have enough strong riders to take it from there.

*Cautionary note! To make this work, they'll need to produce a hell of a lot more than one or two engine and chassis revisions per season!

" Hayden? Nice guy who (more or less accidentally) won a MotoGP title on the best 990cc bike against a misconstructed M1."

Nobody, but nobody, "accidentally" becomes a MotoGP World Champion. What a discredit to Nicky Hayden your comment is.

Even if the main problems persist, will get to see four very good riders fighting each other with four similar bikes, and probably with some satellites too... i think we're looking at a very promissing year :)
Very nice move from ducati, great team!!

I am not going to sit here and lie and say that Hayden has the outright speed of Rossi, Pedrosa, Stoner, or Lorenzo. He does not. But what he does have is a determination that clearly Rossi does not have if he cannot work things out, (I speak only of his time with Ducati. Everyone except Stoner has not been able to adapt.) That fact that Hayden outperforming Rossi at all is ridiculous, but that is just what happened this year. Rossi has had some highs, but sometimes he is just not there if the bike is not to his liking. Hayden works with what he has, whether that is the bike, or the full amount of skill he has to maximize his results.

Besides that, when it comes to that World Championship he won, no one can say he was scared of taking every oppurtunity that came to him. And he definitely was not the the one who crashed out of the last race of the year with the Championship lead. That, was Rossi. All he had to do was finish near Hayden, which normally, is like Rossi doing a warm up lap. This is coming from a BIG ROSSI FAN. But even I had to admit, Rossi threw that one away, according to Chris Vermulen who was riding behind him. He said Rossi was not riding like his normal self.

Many people may not like Hayden. But he puts his head down and races without bitching about a bike everyone knows does not handle worth a damn. In my book, that gives me more respect for him than some of the others not in the top 4 but on better bikes steady bitching, and not just dealing with it the best they can during the race.

re: Nick Hayden's WC. It's on record. Let's not go there for more endless debate.
I am a Hayden supporter, and I like Lorenzo, but am hoping for a Pedrosa championship this year. I think he's matured a lot since Estoril '06.
Also am hoping for a German intervention in the Ducati camp, as I would love to see both Hayden and Spies both up at the sharp end of the stick.

Yamaha North America/Europe or which ever division was behind Ben Spies gotta be real upset now! They spent years endorsing him and now their golden-boy has moved over to Ducati. Ducati already had Hayden to cover their North American sales market... but now they also have Spies! The Ducati marketing department are probably setting up photo shoots ads for the teams. The Yamaha R1 is long in the tooth... will they make another Rossi edition to increase sales?

i thinke were all being unfair when talking about Nicky saying hes just a nice guy,Nicky won races & WC on the Honda and after that he has basically suffered in silence trying to manhandle the bike that sent people to psycologists,ended careers and even forced some to accept a 10 million euros paycut and walk with tail between legs...before we call Nicky a 2nd class rider I'd love to see Pedrosa and Lorenzo trying out the Ducati(cause we already know how Rossi did) and then we can have an apples vs apples comparison,me thinks Nicky will fare a lot better than most ppl think.

These last two seasons hopefully have shone a new light on Hayden's performances the last few years.