It was 2012, and the hopes of an American climbing to the top of the MotoGP World Championship were burning their brightest. Ben Spies had taken over Valentino Rossi’s seat just one year before and had walked away with a win and a steadily improving performance record. The year 2012 was going to be the first of many years of splendid racing from the Texan, but that year turned into a nightmare, and started a downward spiral for the American’s GP career.
The Beginning of the End for Ben Spies
Ben Spies 2012 MotoGP season was a disaster like none other seen by members of the GP paddock. A broken seat, a cracked frame, and major tire problems kept Spies from finishing on the podium all season. This spate of bad luck would culminate in a season ending shoulder injury that not only required surgery but also forced Spies to leave the Yamaha Factory team. Ben signed a two-year contract with Ducati soon after, but his 2013 season would fair just as poorly as 2012.
Spies rode the first two rounds of the 2013 MotoGP season, but his shoulder injury had not fully healed. Instead of racing, he focused on rehab, planning on a return for the Italian GP. That plan didn’t pan out, and so he pushed his return back to the Indianapolis GP. Unfortunately, while riding in free practice, the temperamental Ducati flicked Spies over the handlebars and he landed on his injured right shoulder. Further surgeries and doctor visits concluded that he would never race again, and Spies announced his retirement.
A New Hope for an American Champion
This seemed like the end to Ben Spies motorcycle racing career, however, time has a funny way of changing things in our lives. A post on Ben Spies Instagram account started a tremor throughout the motorcycling world. A picture of motorcycling gloves and a helmet emblazoned with Ben Spies’ iconic number 11 appeared with the subject line, “Let’s see if I can still do this…” Speculation of Ben Spies return has sense snowballed into mountains of speculation.
Several sources claim that Spies is eyeing a return to racing through the MotoAmerica series. Ducati Sport Director Paolo Ciabatti has publicly stated that he is ready to supply the rider with a World Superbike level package at cost, but the factory doesn’t have the money to put up the effort themselves. That means that Spies will have to raise funding through sponsorship, a la Paul Bird Racing in British Superbikes. However, there are very few sponsors out there.
Right now, some are suggesting that Ben is considering sponsoring the team himself, which leaves some wondering how well he has managed his money from his riding days. Other rumors claim that Cycle World Magazine may also be looking to finance a Ducati MotoAmerica team. Could a team led by AMA Champion and World Superbike Champion Ben Spies be in the offing? The attorneys who ride will be keeping a close eye on any further developments.