Ben Spies fears he is facing a lengthy injury lay-off after he took the difficult decision to withdraw from this weekend’s Italian MotoGP race in Mugello.
The Texan is still not close to being 100% recovered from injuries suffered as a result of him over compensating for severe damage to his right shoulder he first suffered following a crash way back in October during a rain-lashed Sepang clash in Malaysia.
Spies had sat out the Jerez and Le Mans races in a bid to aid his recovery but after returning to his Ignite Ducati Desmosedici machine in Mugello, he withdrew after struggling to 16th in yesterday’s opening two practice sessions.
The 2009 World Superbike champion admitted today in Mugello that he had no idea how long it will take for him to get back to 100% strength and fitness but he has vowed not to rush his return and will only do so when he’s convinced he can show his true potential.
Spies said: “It is difficult but I can only do what I can do. I showed up with every intention of getting the most out of the weekend but I had a couple of moments on track yesterday that showed it is not yet the time.
"I clearly don't want to involve anybody in a mistake that is due to me and I don't want to do that to any other rider. It is frustrating for me, the fans, the team, Pramac, Ducati, everybody. Right now it is out of my control and everything I can do is being done.
"Everyone wants a time line on when my shoulder is going to be ready, but this not an injury where you take a cast off and get a plate put in and race in two weeks. This has taken way longer than I wanted and until it is 100% I really don't know.
"I will go home to get it back to 100% and I don't want to speculate on the time frame. It is not going to happen right now but hopefully sooner rather than later.”
Spies said his next attempt to return and put the shoulder injury misery behind him will not be completed before he has tested its strength in a test session.
It won’t be on a MotoGP bike but he added: “I will ride a bike before I come back. It won't be a GP bike but I’ll do an intense test to know where my shoulder is at. I'm speaking with Ducati and everyone in my team and the best way to come back is when it is 100% and not rush things.
"We will schedule a two-day track test so that we will know that I am ready. It will be a real race bike so that I know I'm ready for a race weekend with no problems. This is the smartest option."