Ben Spies To Miss Jerez Round Due To Muscle Problems

Ben Spies will not take part in the Spanish MotoGP round at Jerez scheduled to take place on May 5th. The Texan has been advised to withdraw to undergo further physical rehabilitation after suffering severe muscle pain in his back and chest at Austin.

The problems are a result of the extended recovery period from the surgery he had on the shoulder he injured at Sepang in October last year. Injuries to shoulder ligaments are notorious for taking a long time to heal, and for patients to recover their full strength, and it is this which has been dogging the Texan. With his right shoulder still very weak, Spies has been forced to try to compensate using his back and chest, and this is placing too much strain on his muscles while riding. The Ignite Pramac rider will have further rehab to deal with the strained muscles, and get him ready to return at the Le Mans round of MotoGP in just over three weeks' time.

Below is the press release from the Ignite Pramac team on Spies' condition:

Ben Spies to miss Jerez race

Unfortunately, the pain felt by the Ignite Pramac Racing Team rider at the end of the warm up during last weekend in Austin (Texas), has had more serious consequences than expected.

As a result, Ben Spies will not be able to race at the next round of the Championship, held on May 5th in Jerez, Spain.

After taking part regularly in the Texan race, in which he finished in 13th position, the American rider was seen by his medical staff, who advised him three consecutive weeks of intense rehab in order to alleviate the strain in his pectorals and back muscles.

Despite the constant improvement in the condition of his shoulder after recent surgery, Ben still needs further intense work to build up his muscle, and to acquire the necessary strength which will enable him to endure the stress during the race. Therefore the therapy will be different to what he has done so far, focused on limb mobility, thanks to his better physical condition. These three weeks of therapy will allow the Texan to be back for the Le Mans race.

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Indeed did it also take Rossi a long time to recover from his shoulder injury. And I think Pedrosa as well, if I'm not mistaken. Again we learn something about human anatomy through motorcycle racing.

For poor Ben, Lady Luck better soon come back. He already had his share of bad luck last season, you would think. This definitely does not help his performance this year with an already difficult motorcycle.

Just can't catch a break can he?! Poor Elbowz, hopefully next year he'll find a nice ride on the Suzuki or maybe even a Ducati in SBK. The only other race winner not named Stoner, Rossi, Lorenzo, or Pedrosa (and now Marquez), that has to say something, right?

Hayden's las win was 7 years ago. Yes 7!! When was the last time we saw he fight or even be in contention to win?

Dovi's win came in the rain when half the field fell. Yes that's part if it sometimes. Yes a win is a win. It's just sugar coating the real fact though. He failed on the HRC. He had his shot and HRC needed a winner. Dovi wasn't it.

Unless Ben gets a HRC ride(very unlikely) or Audi can turn Ducati around. He won't be fighting for a win anytime soon either.

Well if we are going back that far then Troy Bayliss has had a more recent win in motogp than Nick. On a ducati too!

...or Agostini? I am not sure but I believe he had a couple of wins (or maybe more)

Guess I should have prefaced that with "since 2009, not named..."

God almighty what a huge disappointment this guy is for American fans. Never has someone so talented done so little with so much. An absolute failure on a championship-winning FACTORY machine. And now floundering at the back of the grid. Yikes.

Winning the WSBK title first year out on many tracks he had never been on.......but ya what a total disappointment. Plus a Motogp race win which is more then many.

I will admit that his Motogp career hasn't been amazing, but to say he is a huge disappointment is a long stretch IMHO.

This man has had one of the worst stories of Motogp in the last few years. I think he may still have the talent. But he is going to have to climb up the biggest mental hurdle in his racing life to get back to the level he was at.

Being on a Ducati, I do not see him being near the front on a Ducati. But maybe if Suzuki come back, he will get a chance to comeback, (if they are competitive.)

After watching him beat the arch nemesis of enemies Mladin years ago to looking like he has been broken by a person in Yamaha Management is just painful to watch. I hope he is able to recover physically and mentally. I believe he is the very best of the Americans in Motogp at the moment. No one else from here has shown his outright speed and skill. Still wishing him the best.

It's difficult not to view Spies as the new John Hopkins, the great prodigy who didn't really amount to anything. Constantly injured, and full of excuses for not performing. His choice to ride a satellite Ducati is still mystifying. He took that over a factory BMW in WSBK? He didn't even finish ahead of all the CRTs.

Who wants to "race" in a series on a bike where they have zero percent chance of winning? I'll never understand that. Why guys like he and Hayden choose to circle mid-pack, "fight" for 8th and call it a day when they could be WSBK winning races.

Isn't winning what a true athlete, competitor and racer wants to do? Or is it just about collecting the biggest paycheck possible? Please don't tell me about MotoGP being the "Premier" motorcycle racing class. I think we can all see with each race it's nothing more than a 3 man match race, follwed by 15 or so bikes with 0% chance of winning unless Pedrosa, Marquez and Lorenzo all take each other out.....

Then only four riders would be lining up to race every weekend, since only four riders have a realistic chance of winning, and only 2 manufactures would bother racing because only Honda and Yamaha have any chance of winning.

End of the day all the race wins and championships don't pay the bill's, put food in their children's mouths and ensure a certain lifestyle when they are retired. Do you think for a second they will be regretting getting a big paycheck that ensures they are retired in comfort? Nicky, Spies, Edwards are laughing all the way to the BANK and what you or I think of them and their careers is offset by all the zero's after the first number of their pay checks.

Interesting article that proves that after the shine, fame and fandom is done the paycheck is what ensures you are not living day to day but able to plan for retirement.

There are similarities if you compare the seasons Valentino Rossi spent at Ducati to the two seasons Russell put in at Harley. Both riders left those teams basically shell-shocked, out-shined by their teammates. And very, very rich. "At the time the money I was being paid by Harley didn't matter to me," Russell says. "At the time, all that mattered was that I was riding a bike that I knew that if it didn't rain that I had no shot at winning on. That's all I thought about. I was overwhelmed by it. I never thought about the money." Russell was the highest paid rider in the AMA Superbike paddock in that era.

"Now? Now it makes me smile," Russell says. "I am still getting paid by Harley-Davidson, and will continue to get paid for two more years. I sit on my porch and look at my land and my things and my life and I am very happy I rode for Harley. I am very fortunate." -

"Then only four riders would be lining up to race every weekend, since only four riders have a realistic chance of winning, and only 2 manufactures would bother racing because only Honda and Yamaha have any chance of winning"

Um, yeah that's my point. You have 4 bikes and 3, maybe 4 (Rossi) cable of winning. That's it. Barring a massive crash up front no other rider will win this season or in the foreseeable future. The CRTs are a joke, grid fillers, the celery of the racing world. As Colin Edwards put it last year "my bike is a piece of S**t" That can't even top SBK times around the same circuit. They barely outpace Moto 2 bikes......

Good for Scott Russell, he took Harley's money and ended his career as a back of the pack loser.

I have a hard time believing Spies, Edwards and Hayden couldn't make a good living in WSBK or AMA. Esp. Spies, I am pretty sure factory BMW is not paying Melandri in peanuts and schnitzel. These guys are not barely scraping by and they would not be barely scraping by in other race series.

I am a big racing fan but it's completely pointless to watch a Moto GP race. I think a lot of folks realize that and tune out after Moto 2. I do and most of my friends do.

What kills me is that if Spies, Hayden and Edwards went (back) to SBK the series would be unreal with at least 8-10 capable of winning any weekend.

Plus, why does Ducati/Audi continue to throw money at Moto GP? Their success and sales have been based on Super Bikes. Is Dorno throwing some cash at them to stay in the series? Every time I see them finish 8-11 I wonder why they are in the series........

Funny old architecture that shoulder. It can take forever to never heal. Then you wake up one morning and wonder if you ever did actually bust it. When and if it does come right,you are always painfully aware of it on a psychological level unlike a clean major bone brake. Splint,cast and its forgotten after 6weeks. Wrists and shoulders. Rotation.
Ben and Ducati. I was hoping he'd be off to a flyer this season but like Rossi before him it is just not panning out. Catch up is not an option at this level.
Pirro I suspect, will bring a 4th Ducati home in the top 10 at Jerez barring one or all 4 falling down.
Ben's decision to stay in GP this year rather than going back to SBK was summed up in an article some time back. The will to be the best you can at the highest level.
For sure,only 4 or so riders are equiped with kit capable of winning at this level.
By the same token every SBK rider aspires to be on aforementioned kit whilst youth is on their side at any rate. Ben ain't no spring chicken like Bradl,Marquez,Iannone and a host of others gracing CRT and Moto 2.

Hopkins gave his pound of flesh and then some. He has a true fighter's spirit. Spies has something Hopkins never had. Some real success. I don't think Hopkins will see the success he had and always pushed needing more. On the other hand Ben has a lot of boxes checked off already.

Ben will come back strong. He's gone thru a horrid sequence of bad breaks.

He's a great talent and once he gets back in his groove he'll be fine and start getting the results his talent warrants

Chin up Ben!!

Look, I don't really get any particular joy from bashing an American rider, but lets not try to rewrite history here. A "crash"is another word for "mistake," Hopkins was hurt all the time because his ambition overrode his talent.
Spies was asked by the team last year to not show up at Laguna if he wasn't going to give 100%. Have you EVER heard of that before?! That's not "bad luck."
That's not "a rough patch" or whatever. That's called "giving up."
He'll be out of MotoGP next year. Maybe he'll concentrate on his bicycle team...

Clearly Hopper would have had far more success had he been on a factory RCV. The only outcome for a rider that refuses to lose on a bike that can't win is hospitalized. Maybe Hopper wasn't the most talented rider out there but he was as ballsy as they come.

Spies is In a similiar situation, but I think now he's playing it smart by not pushing too hard until his body is right again. You have to wonder if last season broke him mentally a bit though. Finally getting a title winning bike underneath him and then having to watch his teammate win while he had DNF after DNF must have been hard for a guy that probably had unshakeable beleif in his ability up until then.

Hoppers problem was he could only twist the throttle one way, and on the crap bike he was riding that meant either the engine went or he went trying to keep up. He was always chirpy and positive even with a cast on his leg. Problem was they could fix the bike but not the body and when the body gives out then the mind follows as John found out. Ben is not chirpy or positive, was used to success and now hasn't had any for quite some time, that is the telling factor for me.

Even as an american, to me, it seems he's lost his passion?

i can't imagine being able to do anything as well as ben rides a bike and seemingly have very little desire to do it.... or so it seems now.

I was stunned last year when I read he'd been on NO MOTORCYCLE during the testing ban... same this year - (obviously it is due to his injury this year - but last year?).

I had a pretty involved shoulder operation years ago - it does take time (6-9 months) and hard, very tedious work..... but I hope he can pull his head out and at least run with Hayden and sometimes Dovi.

If he get's dauber any further down he's not going to have much of a chance to ride anywhere.... come on' Ben (goose)... you're the great American hope:-)

Ben Spies seems to have suffered the same ill luck and therefore damage to his ego and pride that many riders, especially those who come from a superbike background (Cal excepted), appear to suffer when they throw their leg over a MotoGP machine.

He has'nt forgotten how to ride a bike fast, but after suffering at the hands of Lorenzo last year and taking what was probably the only factory ride available to him in 2013, his bad luck continues.

I would'nt put money on him continuing in MotoGP in 2014 and if his injuries do not heal properly, will be even retire?

However, have we all forgotten the travails of Hodgson and Toseland? Both extremely talented superbike riders who failed at the ultimate level.

It will be interesting to see how Bradley Smith, coming up through the Moto 3 and Moto 2 ranks, gets on once his honeymoon period is over.

I am sorry for Ben, and I think now he is finished as a Motogp rider, I don't think the mind is there anymore never mind the body. He was finished by mid season last year and it just got worse and worse. Lots of great talents have gone into Motogp and never made it, look at the list of British riders. A lot of them have ended up carrying serious injuries. Ben needs some time away to regroup, recover and see where he feels like going. Right now I only see, unfortunately, more injuries and no success the way things are for him. Good luck Ben, you will need it.

He isnt going to win this year. He has hung his GP hopes on two things. Ducati getting a decent GP bike, which they haven't had since 2006. Or Suzuki coming back into GP without Paul Denning and making a compeitive machine. Both will not happen this year. Next year, maybe. But I thinks thats a big task for either senario. Ben shot himself in the foot when he decided he wanted to leave Yamaha.

and yet we gave Rossi the benefit of the doubt for nearly all of 2011 as the shoulder being a major contributing factor to the lack of success of the Desmosedici, myself included.

If the shoulder is as bad as he says it is, there is no way he could reliably even contend in the top 10 let alone provide himself with a comfortable level of safety. How would you like to be going down a front straight at 200 mph, go to slam on the brakes that have more stopping power than anything known to common man, feel a deep pain in your shoulder and feel your upper body writh in pain while you realize that gravel pit, and furthermore wall, are getting horrifically closer.

Spies has already bit the bullet on the Ducati and its only worsened his condition. Major athletes get time off for recovery, sometimes entire seasons, and we are bickering over him missing a race.

Maybe Marquez should have raced with the double vision.

Regardless, Spies is still 1 of only 6 men to win a DRY race since the introduction of the spec tire. And anyone that remembers that Dutch TT will remember the utter domination Spies showed that day.

I don't think anyone is more mystified at what happened last season than Ben himself. The 1000cc bikes were supposed to suit the ex-Superbike champ, yet he seemed to be over-riding the bike (and crashing) to get near the same times that Lorenzo was effortlessly accomplishing. That coupled with the abysmal string of weird bad luck.
I still don't understand why Lin Jarvis came down so hard on him. Granted, the riders at this level don't need molly-coddling, but to make statements like "...we've lost confidence in you...", and "...don't bother showing up unless you're going to give 100%..." I'm paraphrasing and only know what I read on the web, but maybe he tried the "tough love" method with Ben? I don't think we'll know the whole story unless both parties decide to let it all out. We may never know the full story.
The Ducati way may have been the only way to stay in MotoGP, but it's going to be awhile before it gets better for any of the Ducati riders, if ever.
Read this for more from Spies himself on the injury:

Ben is a really talented rider and apart from 2012 had a pretty much fairy tale ride from domestic racing into the international scene to become a MotoGP race winner.

2012 was a major, major blip in the radar but the fella is 28 and should have a few very good years left in him. It would be a real shame if the combination of his dire 2012 season and a shoulder injury sees him leave MotoGP with his tail between his legs.

I really hope he can put together some good performances this year and help put Ducati back on the map. Failing that, a homecoming to Suzuki for their next jaunt in MotoGP and a spectacular win in the rain at Le Mans next year...

I can dream can't I?

I remember Stoner saying last year he couldn't understand why some of the MotoGP riders were still around - implying that they had overstayed their welcome or had burned out and were just treading water. It was a typically shitty Stoner comment, and you can imagine that he was referring to the likes of Hayden, Edwards etc. Maybe even Rossi since he was struggling so much at Ducati at the time.
As an objective observer he's got a point. It's clear why they are still racing bikes - they love it and they're amazingly talented. But why compete in a class in which you have ZERO hope of winning. And even if you do win due to luck, it will go down as a win*. And because there is such a massive performance gap between the different bikes (RC213v=M1>>satellite yam>satellite honda>>ducati>satellite ducati>>CRT) they are not really racing against anyone except their own team-mates. Which is boring, frustrating and potentially soul destroying if you are consistently beaten by your team-mate.

But switching to WSB must be a massive step down psychologically. The grid isn't nearly as prestigious, the press coverage/TV coverage is minimal, the papers don't pick it up, the pay is less etc. I can understand why these riders want to stay in MotoGP. Because it's where the best are - it's like studying at Harvard and coming middle of the class rather than studying at a middle rate uni and graduating cum laude. It's great to win the WSBK challenge, but if you want to be associated with the best, then you have to be on the same grid as the aliens.

It's the challenge, the prestige, the names on the grid, the money, the fame - being a part of that must be addictive. The prospect of moving to WSBK must be frightening for its implications about the state of your career. Besides, Edwards has already done it. Hayden has no incentive (the panigale sucks as much as the GP13 does so why bother).

Why do people think it must be a huge disappointment to Americans that Ben is struggling? Its a huge disapointment to all of us race fans. I would have loved to have seen Foggy get a full time GP ride in the 90s, but the right offer never came so he stayed with Superbikes....shame. Wishing Ben a Speedy recovery

The end of Spies' first year on a factory Yamaha did him no favours, nor did the Yamaha team management, and, one suspects, nor did his own crew chief, nor his own personal manager. It seems doubtful a one race 'rest' will see Elbowz' shoulder fully recovered. He may be quiet but there used to be a burning desire in the lad to win. Which was how he beat Mladin on equal equipment in AMA Superbike racing, and how he won the SWC in 2009. He acquitted himself well in the Tech 3 team in MotoGP, beat the vaunted Marco Simoncelli to be Rookie of the Year, moved to the factory team and won a race in his first year on a factory bike, but most of the time his crew seemed to have no idea how to set up a MotoGP bike. His crash at Phillip Island was a BIG one, around 260 km/h. From there on his time with Yamaha was fraught, through what appears to be bad team management. But he still beat Simoncelli in the championship, 176 points to 139. Last year his Yamaha horror story continued.

Of course racers want to win but not at all costs. If winning was the be all and end all, every rider save Lorenzo, Pedrosa, Rossi and Marquez would surely return to their respective National championships or club racing. The will to win is doubtless strong but only to win against the best. That I believe is the main 'pull' to or desire to remain in MotoGP. Spies has won WSB and AMA, as he says himself he has more to do in MotoGP and that is reason enough to stay on.

I have more respect for him staying on trying to pit himself against the best in the world than returning to a championship simply because he knows he can win.