News & Multimedia

Spies Starts Road Back To Podium At Indianapolis

After months in the shadows, the road to redemption starts in Indianapolis for American MotoGP star Ben Spies.

Spies will return to MotoGP competition Aug. 16-18 at the Red Bull Indianapolis GP after missing six of the last seven races this season due to an extended rehabilitation of a serious shoulder injury suffered at the end of last season.

“Everything is right on schedule,” Spies said last month. “So I look forward to coming back at Indy and being 100 percent. We’ve missed a lot of the season, but I’m looking forward to basically starting my season at Indy and getting back to where we need to be.”

Spies, from Longview, Texas, suffered torn ligaments in his right shoulder in a crash during the Malaysian Grand Prix last October in the final races of his two-year tenure with the elite Yamaha Factory Racing team. The procedure consisted of reconstructing the ligaments with ligaments taken from a cadaver.

Three-time AMA Superbike champion and 2009 World Superbike champion Spies missed the final two races of the 2012 season and the first test with his new team, Ignite Pramac Racing, right after the final race of 2012.

Spies pushed hard in his rehab to prepare for the first preseason tests of 2013 in February at Sepang, Malaysia, but he sat out the final day of that three-day test due to lingering pain and weakness in his rebuilt shoulder.

He was on the grid for the season debut at Qatar, finishing a promising 10th on his Ignite Pramac Ducati under the lights in the night race. But Spies struggled home to a 13th-place finish at the next race, the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas at Austin, suffering from stabbing pain in his chest. It was soon discovered that his chest muscles were injured while trying to overcompensate for the weakness in his healing shoulder, trying to hold up his body through the extreme G-forces of riding a Grand Prix motorcycle.

“At the beginning of the season, we came back too soon, and I had another injury at Austin because I wasn’t strong enough to ride,” Spies said. “Sometimes injuries make more injuries.”

Spies missed the next two races and tried to ride at the Grand Prix of Italy in late May but withdrew after the first day of practice due to persistent pain and weakness. Enough was enough.

“Ducati and I and the Italian doctor and my American doctor made the best decision to come back in the right way and not push things,” Spies said.

So Spies made the tough, but necessary, decision to step away from MotoGP for the last 10 weeks for more recovery and rehabilitation of his shoulder. Rumors swirled around the MotoGP paddock and Internet during that hiatus whether Spies’ injury was career-ending.

But Spies’ efforts to block that white noise in relative solitude have paid off.

“I know there have been a lot of rumors, but I know that this break that we took to get me back to 100 percent was the smartest thing to do,” Spies said. “Now I can go to Indy and know that I’m where I need to be with my health, and all I need to do is work on getting back up to speed. It’s the first time in eight months that I’ve had that feeling. Now is the first time in a long time that I’m really happy because my fitness is coming along well.”

While Spies is feeling healthy, he also knows it’s unrealistic to expect a return to the front of the grid.

First, his Ducati has not shown the same kind of competitive speed as the Yamaha machines that delivered him a pole position at Indianapolis in 2010 and podium finishes at this event in 2010 and 2011.

And most importantly, it’s been 10 weeks since Spies has put on his leathers, gloves, boots and helmet and rode one of the most sophisticated, high-performance road-racing motorcycles on Earth.

“Now, I have confidence in myself in terms of fitness, but of course I know I won’t be back up to speed in one session because I haven’t ridden the bike lately.

“I’ve been doing rehab three to four days a week at the best rehab place in Dallas and one of the best in the U.S. They look at me from day to day and see what I need to work on. When they see that something needs to be stronger, they change the program.

“People don’t see me at the races, but I’ve been working my butt off at home to get back to where I need to be. It’s taken a lot longer than I or anybody wanted it to, but there’s nothing we can do about that.”

Now all Spies can do is race a 1000cc Grand Prix motorcycle, something he can do among the very best in the world – especially at Indianapolis.
 

Show More Show Less
Now Viewing
Spies Starts Road Back To Podium At Indianapolis
 
Spies Starts Road Back To Podium At Indianapolis
Spies will return to MotoGP competition Aug. 16-18 at the Red Bull Indianapolis GP after missing six of the last seven races this season due to an extended rehabilitation of a serious shoulder injury suffered at the end of last season.
Read More
Related Media
Lights at the Brickyard
 
Lights at the Brickyard Wows Large Holiday Crowds
More than 50,000 spectators have already witnessed Indy’s newest spectacular holiday tradition, Lights at the Brickyard. As a gift to both newcomers and returning visitors, a special $25 standard lane entry price will be available Monday-Wednesday throughout December. Thursday-Sunday standard lane prices will remain $30, as previously announced.
Read More
Big Ten Championship
 
IMS and IndyCar Provide High Speed Big Ten Championship Preview
The Big Ten Football Championship Game returns to Indianapolis this weekend for another thrilling matchup with major bowl game implications. This year’s game features the Penn State Nittany Lyons and the University of Wisconsin Badgers.
Read More
Alexander Rossi
 
Rossi Closing in on Opportunity to See His Likeness on the Borg-Warner Trophy
Rossi’s memories of the Borg-Warner Trophy are more from the day after the race, at the traditional “day-after” photo shoot, when he was posing in front of his No. 98 Honda with the trophy and one of his spotters pointed to the spot where his likeness would go.
Read More
Indy 500 Tickets On Sale Now
 
101st Indianapolis 500 and 2017 Month of May Tickets On Sale Now
Tickets for the 101st Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil are on sale today, along with the entire 2017 Month of May schedule. Fans who have not already pre-ordered tickets can visit the Indianapolis Motor Speedway ticket office or IMS.com to purchase their seats for an action-packed schedule that also includes the IndyCar Grand Prix, Indy 500 practice and qualification days, concerts and so much more.
Read More
Florence Henderson
 
IMS Statement on Passing of Florence Henderson
Florence Henderson was a beloved member of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway family. She sang 23 times during Indianapolis 500 pre-race festivities and recently served as Grand Marshal for the historic 100th Running of the Race. The IMS family sends its thoughts and prayers to her loved ones during this difficult time.
Read More
Items 1 - 5 of 2,390
Reserve one of our hospitality suites for your next event!
To start planning your event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway please fill out our Information Request Form or contact Laura Wyamn at (317) 492-8557 or email at lwyman@brickyard.com.
Latest Tweets
50,000 spectators have been out to see #IMSLights at the Brickyard - Are you next?? https://t.co/6T7q9dxaea https://t.co/b80DD9zxPF
about 3 hours ago