Pain in the Neck for Spies

Henny Ray Abrams | August 25, 2011

INDIANAPOLIS, IN, AUG 25 – Yamaha’s Ben Spies isn’t certain about his physical readiness for this weekend’s Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix or whether he’ll be able to repeat last year’s sterling performance.The Texan was hampered by a pinched nerve in his neck at the Czech Grand Prix in Brno two weeks ago. Still, he finished fifth, 1.6 secs. behind teammate Jorge Lorenzo.Then Spies flew to his home in Texas to consult with his doctors and physical therapist.

He’s hopeful of being ready when practice starts on Friday morning at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where he’ll race in Yamaha’s 50th anniversary colors, but said his condition remains a question mark.”Definitely better,” he said when asked about his neck and shoulder. “Got a chance to get in and see some doctors and stuff and still haven’t got everything under control, but moving in the right direction and definitely feel a lot better than Brno, but definitely not 100%. But it’s just one of those things that takes a little bit of time and they can’t give quite the answer when it’s going to be perfect, but we just do as much physio and stuff as we can and just try to move in that direction, so it’s kinda out of everybody’s hands.”Asked whether it was a trapped nerve, Spies said, “Yeah, it’s definitely something to do with that. I have to do a couple more tests to see more exactly where it’s coming from and how to treat it properly, but it’s definitely nerve. Something to do with the trapped nerve or something, so we’ll just wait and see.”He said he hadn’t trained extensive since returning home. For the first three days he rested and then “did a couple things over the weekend” and then no training on the run up to Indy, only physical therapy that included stretching.”Definitely improved it,” he began, “but it’s one of those things, no matter resting or doing anything nothing’s changed with it. It wasn’t better or worse. It’s just, I think, one of those things it just takes time to heal and time really isn’t on our side right now, but we can only do what we can do. And, again in Brno, I thought it was going to be a disaster in the race and I was extremely happy with the outcome of the race for how I felt. And I think here, again, not coming into the weekend 100% fit and confident, but I’m definitely a lot, lot better than I was in Brno.”Spies qualified on the pole for last year’s RBIGP and finished second in the race, but he questioned whether he could repeat that performance.”It’s going to be tough,” he said. “Right now, honestly I don’t have enough confidence to say either/or, but, again, we’re going to get on the bike and give it 100% like we did at Brno and see what we can do. I’d love to be able to do something in front of the home crowd, but right now I’m just not 100% and don’t know what we can or can’t do even. It could be a miracle and we could do a great job on Sunday or suffer through it again like Brno. So just in the dark a little.” He added, “there’s no big fix or answer right now, but just to do the best job we can.”



Henny Ray Abrams | Contributing Editor

Abrams is the longest-serving contributor at Cycle News. Over the course of his 35-some years of writing and shooting photos, he’s covered events from MotoGP to the Motocross World Championship - and everything in between.