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GP Week : Issue 166
B en Spies has finally turned his back on BMW to sign as lead rider for Ducati’s new ‘Junior’satellite team. The news will be confirmed this week prior to the Misano GP, when the beleaguered Italian factory team is expected to announce Andrea Iannone as second rider in the team, and that it will be run by current independent team Pramac. At Indianapolis at the end of last month, Spies was outspoken about his disillusionment with MotoGP, and was known to have signed a letter of intent to join BMW’s Superbike squad, currently at last enjoying success in the production-based series. A week later at Brno the situation had changed, and he revealed he was also considering MotoGP options with Gresini Honda (San Carlo), Ducati, and as a Suzuki test/wild card rider, preparing for their return in 2014. Days later he told BMW he was no longer available. It is a high-risk strategy for the former World Superbike and double US champion, whose third year in MotoGP and second in the Yamaha factory team has been blighted with a variety of freak misfortunes, including two chassis breakages and an engine blow-up plus serial tyre problems, food poisoning and a visor malfunction, plus a couple of crashes. Race winner at Assen last year, he is languishing tenth overall. Spies prepared the ground at Brno, saying: “I feel I haven’t shown yet what I’m capable of in MotoGP;” but his hopes will have to be on hold as he waits to see if Ducati can resolve its handling problems with the help of Audi backing; and also to see if he can move up to the factory team alongside Andrea Dovizioso in 2014, by when current incumbent Nicky Hayden’s contract will have expired. MOTOGP >>> NEWS SPIES BITES THE SILVER BULLET 11 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: