Photography by Larry Lawrence
Ben Spies is not putting any pressure on himself in his return to MotoGP racing this weekend at the Red Bull Indianapolis GP. Racing at a track where he won the pole in 2010 and led the early laps of last year’s race, one might expect there to be high expectations for 29-year-old Texan, but Spies clearly is simply looking to get back on the Pramac/Ignite Ducati and gradually work his way back to speed after four months off the bike.
Spies crashed at Sepang in 2012 and damaged his shoulder, which later required surgery to reconstruct damaged ligaments. Then came a crash at the opening round in Qatar and at round two in Austin he experienced intense pain in his chest and back and was advised to sit out by his doctors. Spies says he’s now feeling better than ever.
“We definitely had goals and accomplished most of them,” Spies said of his time with Yamaha. “This year, honestly with the way the year’s gone and just with everything, I don’t have any goals right now, because first of all I’ve got to slowly get back up to my pace. What that translates on the Ducati, I don’t know yet because I haven’t been there. We just have to wait and I might be able to set some more realistic goals come Brno, Silverstone and see where we’re at compared to the rest of the guys on Ducatis. Right now we don’t know because I haven’t been able to ride the bike at 100 percent, or anything like that.”
This will be Spies’ fifth start at Indianapolis. He’s traditionally done well here dating back to 2008, when as a wildcard for Suzuki, he finished sixth, the best result ever for a wildcard during the 800cc era of MotoGP.
Spies feels this truly is the beginning of his 2013.
“I still need to really to learn the bike,” he explained. “I’ve never been close to pushing the thing. Once we get to that point I can kind of see where we can go and what’s possible. Obviously battling for the podium, I don’t think that’s going to be happening this year, unless it rains on Sunday. That might help (laughs). Right now I don’t have any goals for this week or next. I basically like I said, keep making steps and keep moving forward.”