Ben Spies retires from racing

"The time has come to stop and I do so with great sadness" - Ben Spies.
Ben Spies retires from racing

Former World Superbike champion and MotoGP race winner Ben Spies has announced his retirement from racing.

The American has made just two race starts this season due to serious shoulder injuries stretching back to last October's Malaysian round.

A statement from Ducati can be seen below:

'Ducati Motor Holding and Ben Spies announced today that the American will not be racing in 2014 after the parties reached agreement to resolve Ben's current contract with the Italian racing manufacturer.

'The 29-year-old Texan had signed a two-year agreement with Ducati at the end of last season to race in MotoGP in 2013 and 2014 as part of the factory-supported Ignite Pramac Racing Team.

'Ben has been sidelined for most of this season due to an injury to his right shoulder sustained in October 2012 while riding for another manufacturer team [Yamaha]. While he began 2013 racing with Pramac, it quickly became clear that he was not fully healed from his injury and needed to undergo further rehabilitation on his shoulder.

'Unfortunately, on his return to racing at Indianapolis in August, Ben had another setback when he suffered a season-ending crash during practice.

'The resulting operations on both shoulders have left Spies feeling that his physical ability to ride next year remains in question and a decision was jointly made by Ducati and Ben to release Ben from any requirement to race in 2014.

'The 2009 World Superbike Champion, three-time AMA Superbike Champion and MotoGP race winner announced his retirement from the sport in the following way:

"I had such high hopes for racing for Ducati, and Ducati has been incredibly supportive of me during this challenging year, so I am tremendously disappointed that I have not been able to fulfill my personal goals and team goals with Ducati. I want to thank everyone from racing organisations, factories, teams and all my fans for helping me and supporting me throughout my career. I never dreamed that I would reach the level of success that I have over the past 20 years of racing, but the time has come to stop and I do so with great sadness."

'Spies' manager/mother Mary Spies added: "Wherever Ben has raced over the years - from AMA Superbike to World Superbike to MotoGP - he has always felt the warmth and appreciation of the organisers, circuits, teams and fans. We are so grateful to them for their support."

'Ducati MotoGP Project Director Paolo Ciabatti declared: "We had high expectations when Ben joined Ducati in MotoGP this year, and we really hoped that he would fully recover from his Indianapolis crash injuries and continue to race for us in the future. However we understand the reasons for his decision and respect them. It is really a shame for our sport that Ben will not be racing anymore, because in our opinion he is one of the most talented riders in the world. We will miss him and wish him all the best for his future life." '

After several wild-card appearances for Suzuki, whom he won his AMA titles with, Spies made his full-time MotoGP debut with Tech 3 Yamaha in 2010 - on the back of his rookie WSBK title victory.

Two podiums and one pole then cleared the way for a seat at the factory team, alongside Jorge Lorenzo and in place of the departing Valentino Rossi.

Four podiums including the Assen win took Spies to a career best fifth in the series, but 2012 saw Spies sink to just tenth in the standings after an incredible run of accidents, incidents and bad luck, including:

A seat problem at Qatar, visor problem at Le Mans, fall at Catalunya while taking the lead, tyre issues at Assen, food poisoning at Mugello, a broken swingarm at Laguna Seca, engine failure at Indianapolis, clutch problems and a crash at Brno, brake problems leading to a fall at Motegi and then the shoulder injury in the wet Sepang race.

Pramac's Andrea Iannone will continue on a factory-specification machine in MotoGP next year, but his new team-mate is expected to ride an 'open' class (privateer) version of the Desmosedici. Eugene Laverty, Spies' current replacement Yonny Hernandez and Ioda's Danilo Petrucci have all been linked to the seat.

Spies' announcement also ends speculation that the talented Texan would switch back to World Superbikes with Ducati in 2014.

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