A crash during last weekend’s storm-lashed Sepang race in Malaysia is likely to have been the last act for Ben Spies as a factory Yamaha rider, with the Texan now expected to miss the final two races of the season.
He is definitely out of this weekend’s Australian round at Phillip Island after further medical checks in Kuala Lumpur revealed the true extent of injuries suffered when he fell heavily out of 10th place on lap nine.
Spies initially thought he had emerged from the high-side relatively unscathed but in fact he has flown home to America for surgery on a shoulder injury. He also suffered a cracked rib in the upper chest area and a bruised lung.
Yamaha’s statement on his injury says he will only be missing for this weekend’s Phillip Island race, but MCN understands Spies will also not be fit to return for the season’s final round in Valencia next month, which would have been his final YZR-M1 appearance before a move to the Pramac Ducati squad in 2013.
The 2009 World Superbike champion is also expected to be ruled out of his scheduled Ducati debut in the traditional post Valencia test session.
The Sepang crash caps off a nightmare year for Spies, who was expected to emerge as a championship contender in his second season as Jorge Lorenzo’s teammate in Yamaha’s factory squad.
His Sepang crash was his fifth DNF in the last seven races, though he has also been the victim of some wretched luck with a swingarm failure and engine blow-up forcing out of his home races at Laguna Seca and Indianapolis.
Spies said: “I'm lost for words. We've had such a tough season with an unbelievable amount of bad luck. We have always gone out there to give it 100% and it was the intention of both my team and myself to continue to do so at Phillip Island. I took a really hard knock on Sunday and it's now clear from tests that I have some injuries that require immediate attention. It's disappointing to be heading back to the USA now instead of to Phillip Island but it's obviously important to get the right treatment as soon as possible. I'm sorry for my team and thankful for all the hard work they and Yamaha have put in so far; our current situation is not where we should be.”
For seven pages of news and views from the Sepang race, see the October 24 issue of Motor Cycle News.