Ben Spies is staying in MotoGP. The 28-year-old former AMA and World Superbike champion has signed an agreement with Ducati to compete in the 2013 MotoGP World Championship. Spies will join fellow American Nicky Hayden, current Tech 3 Yamaha rider Andrea Dovizioso and Moto2 standout Andrea Iannone on the Italian V-Fours.
According to a press release issued today by Ducati, “the partnership has been renewed between Ducati and Pramac Racing, which will continue to be entrusted with management of the satellite team. [Spies and Iannone] will be supplied with official equipment.” Spies reportedly also had offers to return to World Superbike.
Plagued by mechanical failures, chunked tires and food poisoning, Spies has thus far suffered through his worst racing season in years. His best finishes are a pair of fourths in Holland and Germany, leaving him 10th overall in points with six races yet to run. Last week, Spies completed 177 trouble-free laps during a two-day test at Motorland Aragón in Spain.
“I did a lot of long runs,” he said. “I was just two-tenths of a second slower on the 20th lap of a race simulation than my fastest lap. [Factory Yamaha teammate] Jorge [Lorenzo] tested a new chassis, and hopefully, I’ll be able to use that later this season. It was a good test for us.”
Spies says he’s looking forward to the rest of the season. “Misano isn’t my favorite track, but I enjoy the scenery and being on the beach with all the fans. Aragón is a great track, and after that, we have the three Eastern rounds—Motegi, Sepang and Phillip Island. They’re all good tracks, but Aragón, Phillip Island and Valencia are three of my favorites. We’re going to finish this season strong.”