German MotoGP: Suzuki consider Ben Spies for MotoGP test or wild card place

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Suzuki has confirmed to MCN that it will look at giving reigning American superbike champion Ben Spies a chance to test or race a factory GSV-R 800 in 2007.

A ride for Spies, whether it be a test appearance or as a wild card in one of the remaining nine MotoGP world championship rounds, has been discussed between Kevin Schwantz and Rizla Suzuki MotoGP factory team boss Paul Denning.

Suzuki has run three bikes in selected MotoGP races in the past with test and development riders Kousuke Akiyoshi and Nobuatsu Aoki landing wild card rides.
Denning confirmed to MCN that he had told Suzuki's Japanese management of the interest from Spies about riding a GSV-R in the near future.

"Kevin (Schwantz) has let me know that Ben is definitely keen. I gave that info to Suzuki but it's a little bit late in the day when Suzuki already has its wild cards with contracted riders done and dusted. I don't know what Suzuki's reaction to a request for Ben would be, but they understand that riders as talented as him don't come a long easily in superbikes and there's an interest to keep him motivated and involved in the Suzuki family. It would be a factory decision based on logistics and technical availability. And based on a group of people that could run the guy because you don't want to have him turn up and not give him the support he deserves."

Schwantz, who works closely with Spies in the American superbike series, told MCN: "Paul and I have talked about it a couple times and we've got to get an idea out in front of the Japanese for him to come and test the thing somewhere when the AMA season finishes."

 It was confirmed yesterday that Suzuki had lost American rider John Hopkins to Kawasaki for 2008. An official announcement about Hopkins' new contract with Kawasaki is expected tomorrow (Thursday) on the eve of the German GP at the Sachsenring.

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt