Ben Spies will not be returning from a serious shoulder injury in his forthcoming home race at Laguna Seca after his Ignite Ducati squad announced Alex de Angelis will ride his GP13 machine in the California clash.
Ducati test rider Michele Pirro will continue to deputise for the Texan at the next race in Germany, but the Italian is unavailable for the Laguna Seca race on July 21 because of a commitment to a test session in Misano.
With the Moto2 category not run in Laguna Seca, Pramac will call upon the vastly experienced San Marino rider de Angelis, who will test the Desmosedici machine in Misano on Thursday.
Spies is hoping he will be able to return to action in the Indianapolis round after the summer break and for now is continuing an intensive rehab schedule to fix a serious right shoulder problem that has dragged on now for almost nine months.
The former World Superbike champion first injured his shoulder in a crash during a rain-hit Malaysian round in Sepang last October. He took part in the opening two races in Qatar and Austin before missing the next two races in Jerez and Le Mans, with the shoulder not strong enough to cope with the stress and strain of riding in MotoGP.
He attempted a return at Ducati’s home race in Mugello but with no significant improvement in his condition he was forced to withdraw after practice.
To ensure he is back in the best physical condition for a possible return at the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway on August 18, the Pramac Ducati squad has confirmed it plans to give Spies a test on a production bike in the build-up to the race to test his fitness and strength.
Pramac boss Francesco Guidotti told MCN: “The rehabilitation of Ben is taking more time than he and we expected. After the test in Sepang in February it didn’t look good but good enough to look forward in a positive and confident way.
We are having more problems but with the new therapy we hope that Ben is going to be fine in a few weeks. For sure we will make a special test before he comes back to race. When he came back to Mugello we always tried to be positive and underestimated what he needed. It is always better when you have a long stop to have a test somewhere before you come back to race. We will try and check the shoulder and to test the muscles with a test on a Panigale in America somewhere close to where he lives and then we can understand if it is the right time to be back racing.
We have to make a decision step-by-step but the next goal is that he comes back in Indy or as soon as he understands that he is fully fit and he can ride the bike in a proper way.”
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