Ducati has provided an update on the possibility of Ben Spies’ return to racing, stating it would happily provide the Texan with World Superbike level equipment for a campaign in the MotoAmerica series, but only on the grounds that significant backing can be acquired.

Paolo Ciabatti, Ducati’s sporting director, revealed to Crash.net that Ducati has no budget to go racing in America. Nor does its subsidiary in the United States, meaning it would need a similar partnership to BSB, where it provides factory-backed machinery to Paul Bird’s Be Wiser outfit.

In Ciabatti’s words, “it’s still more of an idea than a project” at present, but Ducati would be more than willing to supply machinery should the costs be covered, and a deadline met.

A rider of Spies’ calibre would also be a huge boost for the nascent MotoAmerica series, started in 2015 with ex-500cc world champion Wayne Rainey as acting president, and one that just witnessed ex-GP star Toni Elias seal the 2017 Superbike championship.

Spies, a former five-time AMA and one-time World Superbike champion, is keen to return to racing in some kind after retiring due to a shoulder injury at the close of 2013. The Texan posted an enigmatic photo of racing gloves and helmet on Instagram in early October alongside the message ‘Let’s see if I can still do this…’

“I heard that some people are trying to put together a package for Moto America,” said Ciabatti. “But this is all I know at the moment. We told our subsidiary that obviously if we know it in time we are able to provide a package with World Superbike material, with small modifications needed for MotoAmerica. And that’s it for the moment. I think it’s still more of an idea than a project.”

So what is needed for this to become a reality? “Money,” came Ciabatti’s response. “As I said, I heard that we were approached to know whether material would be available. And we said, ‘Yes, we need to know within a certain deadline. Come back to us if this project materialises.’

“Personally, it would be great because Ben is a friend. He is still a great rider but I didn’t speak to Ben. I just heard from our subsidiary that some people approached them and that they had this plan. Actually they didn’t mention Spies. I was reading on social media as well.

“So I know Ben would like to somehow get back to some sort of racing, probably in the States. Let’s see for the moment. For us, it’s more of a ‘wait-and-see.’ As Ducati we don’t have any budget to go racing in the States. Nor does our subsidiary.

“So it has to be a serious private effort privately funded. Obviously we would be happy to provide material. We are happy to provide material without making any margin but it needs to be paid. We cannot provide it for free.”

A racing presence in America would no doubt be a good thing for Ducati too, the Bologna factory having history in the old AMA Superbike championship, a series it won on two occasions,

“Well, obviously it [a racing presence in America] is always good. Ducati, we were in the AMA for many years. From one side we think that the job of the company, centrally, is to try and do as good as possible here [MotoGP] and in World Superbikes.

“We are not as big as the Japanese. We don’t sell as many bikes as the Japanese to be able to fund programmes on national championships. We are very lucky to have a partner like Paul Bird in the UK because between him and Ducati UK we were able to make something very successful. But we would need a similar situation in the States to be able to go ahead.”


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Wonder how Ben's shoulder is doing - He said it was popping out if he slept in the wrong position. 
Wish you the best 'Elbowz'

I suspect if I phoned Ducati and said that I was thinking of setting up a MotoAmerica team and would they like to sell me a bike, I would get exactly the same response.

Oh Man!!! Please  this come true!!!!

One of the great enigmas was Ben. Destroyed everyone in Wsbk and looked as though he would do the same in Motogp. A few accidents and big loss of confidence. The same thing happened to  James Toseland. Big shame but top bloke. How time goes by. 

Same thing would happen Rea if he joined Moto Gp. Winning in Superbikes is not the same as winning in Gp racing. Simply as that really.

This would be great news. I haven't been following MotoAmerica, but return of Ben Spies, giving the Spanish intruder - Toni Elias - run for his money. Sounds great!

As Tomco said. The brilliant AMA career when it was still REAL SUPERBIKES, sticking it to Mladin with class - if he had the equal measure of good fortune as much as he has suffered with the bad we would be having different history of some significance at the top levels, WSBK or MotoGP. But he got hammered. So bad,one of the last interviews he said he he came off again he'd be crippled, like normal guy crippled, disabled. Period. So I'm surprised and certainly excited to hear of this. He mentioned drag racing two years back or so so maybe it's not so bad now. I'll play our lottery with his number to the end of the year.

Those were some great races with mladin and Spies. Sad thing is that both of them crushed the rest of the field, but watching them go at it was always entertaining.

Interested to see how he'll do. There should be more "Superbikes" in MotoAmerica next season, but the Yosh and Graves bikes are still the fastest on the grid

I loved watching Spies come up through the AMA ranks. At a time when there was a lot of talent.. Having Ben back in the series would definitely spark a little more interest from me. I watch the races, just not as passionately as I have in years past . 

The old AMA never got much coverage in the UK, so watching a name like Spies come to WSBK and basically destroy it in one season was awesome.

Unfortunately for his MotoGP career it was like he'd run over a black cat on Friday 13th while running under a ladder with a broken mirror - so much bad luck for one person should be statistically impossible.

I appreciate the MotoAmerica series needs support and backing, but if Spies is OK to race again I'd rather see him back on the world stage to be honest.