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GP Week : Issue 173
BEN SPIES: THINGS JUST GOT WORSE Former World Superbike champion and GP winner Ben Spies is out of what would have been his last two races for Yamaha, after requiring surgery following his Sepang crash ... and the American will also miss the important first tests on the Ducati he will ride next year. He is certain to miss not only the post-Valencia test, but also another private Ducati test later in November, before the winter test ban kicks in. If the injury takes as long as predicted to heal, he might also miss the first Sepang test in February. Spies was a victim of tricky conditions in Malaysia, and his 15th recorded crash of the year (one more even than frequent fallers Mattia Pasini and Yonny Hernandez) left him with his right shoulder dislocated and his collar-bone separated. Successful surgery back home in the USA entailed reconstruction of ligaments and transplanting tissue, and his arm will be in a sling for up to 12 weeks, according to a statement from Yamaha. The cost to the rider is more than missing the last two chances to redeem his disastrous second season with Yamaha. The November tests, the first directly after the Valencia GP – officially the start of the 2013 season, are the only chance for riders to test early prototypes of next year’s machines. Their input is crucial to final development. The rider also benefits – especially in such a major change as that from Yamaha to Ducati, where the 28-year-old will ride for the new ‘Junior’ factory team operated by Pramac. Spies’s swap is a mirror image of that of Valentino Rossi, who will take his seat alongside Lorenzo on the factory Yamaha. This latest set-back follows a year that has fallen far short of expectations, and beset with freak technical problems. These run from collapsed suspension at Laguna Seca and a broken frame in Qatar to a smoky engine blow-up at Indianapolis and a visor failure in France. There have also been several crashes. Ben was set to walk out of MotoGP until the Ducati offer turned his head. “I know I have more to give,” he said. Footnote: Ben’s seat at Valencia will be filled by Yamaha test-rider Katsuyuki Nakasuga, who substituted for Lorenzo at the same race last year. Nakasuga was ninth at Motegi three weeks ago. MOTOGP >>> NEWS 11 GPWEEK.com // 11 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: