Spies will join Andrea Iannone at Pramac Ducati in 2013
Ben Spies and Andrea Iannone join Pramac Ducati
12 September 2012 17:18
Ben Spies and Andrea Iannone will ride for the Pramac Ducati squad on full factory Desmosedici machinery in the 2013 MotoGP world championship.
Although they will both race for the satellite squad run by Pramac, a statement from Ducati confirmed that Spies and Iannone will have a direct link to the Bologna factory and they will be supplied with official equipment like factory contracted duo Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso.
The move is in line with Ducati’s plan to bring its satellite team closer to its factory effort to help with development of the Desmosedici project in a similar way that Yamaha operates with Cal Crutchlow’s Monster Yamaha Tech 3 outfit.
Rumours that Texan Spies was completing a shock switch to Ducati emerged at the recent Brno MotoGP test in the Czech Republic.
He had also been strongly linked to a switch to Fausto Gresini’s satellite Honda squad as it emerged that he would not be taking up a chance to partner Marco Melandri on a factory-backed BMW S1000RR in World Superbikes next season.
The signing of Spies is particularly intriguing given it represents a drastic change of heart from the 2009 World Superbike champion.
During his home race in Indianapolis last month he suggested his time in MotoGP was over having taken the shock decision to quit Yamaha’s factory squad on the eve of the Laguna Seca clash at the end of July.
Speaking to MCN at the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway he said: "If I am racing next year it will be in World Superbikes. But I haven’t decided if I am going to be racing next year.
"We could have stayed in MotoGP this year but that was not an option for me. I just don’t think I will come back.
"I’ve raced in every series and I know that there is fun to be had in racing. I know how it is here and I had to try it and it was a dream of mine always to be here but it is not always what it is cut out to be and what people think about it. Here it is very cut throat but it is also the pinnacle of racing so it is always going to be like that.
"I have raced in every series now and I know what’s fun, and I know how much you can enjoy riding. A lot of people here haven’t experienced that and I have and that’s why I came up with that decision. I want to be in a good and fun environment and that’s all there is too it."
But it was only a few days later in Brno that he revealed he was contemplating a dramatic U-turn when he told MCN: "There is a possibility of staying here but it is slim and after Indy I was approached by a couple of different people.
"World Superbikes is something I'm still looking at very strongly and now I'm also looking at some GP offers but I can assure you nothing is done yet. It comes down to the fact that I feel I haven't shown 100% of what I can do, and I know that.
"I don't want to look back in 10 years and say maybe I left too soon but to stay it has to be the right package and that is what I am working on right now."
Spies has endured a shocking run of fortune in 2012 but to pin his hopes on re-building his MotoGP career on a Ducati that has shattered Valentino Rossi’s confidence and morale is a big gamble.
Italian Moto2 rider Iannone’s inclusion in the Pramac squad is less of a shock given he has been almost constantly linked to Ducati's ‘junior team’ for almost the entire summer silly season.
He tested for Ducati last year and has recently demonstrated his potential and promise in two test sessions at the Mugello circuit in Italy.
Ducati’s statement read: "Ducati announces that it has signed an agreement with American Ben Spies and Italian Andrea Iannone to compete in the 2013 MotoGP World Championship.
"Having already confirmed Nicky Hayden and announced Andrea Dovizioso for the Ducati Team, the Italian manufacturer now reaffirms its confidence in and commitment to the MotoGP World Championship, finalizing its lineup for next season with two riders who are fast and competitive, already protagonists in the MotoGP and Moto2 World Championships.
"At the same time, the partnership has been renewed between Ducati and Pramac Racing, which will continue to be entrusted with management of the satellite team.
"The two riders, who have a direct link with the company, will be supplied with official equipment. This agreement will enable additional important support in the development of the Desmosedici MotoGP project, offering a further opportunity in the process of improving the performance of the Italian bike."
The capture of Spies and Iannone ends British teenager Scott Redding’s faint hopes of landing a GP13 slot.
The Gloucestershire rider made a successful MotoGP debut on board a factory Ducati GP12 at Mugello at the end of July but talks quickly fizzled out.
Redding has also been linked with a Gresini Honda ride but is facing competition from Alvaro Bautista and Jonathan Rea, who will replace injured Casey Stoner in Misano this weekend at Repsol Honda.