The moment Ben Spies realised his racing career was over

Ben Spies reveals a specific incident during a practice session at Mugello in 2013 convinced him his racing career was over

Ben Spies 1200

Ben Spies has revealed the moment he realised his motorcycle racing career was at an end when he almost suffered a crash as a direct result of his troublesome shoulder injury during a MotoGP practice session at Mugello in 2013.

The 2009 WorldSBK Champion stepped up to premier class with the factory Yamaha team to great fanfare in 2010 but struggled to get to grips with the MotoGP machinery from the outset, achieving only a pair of podiums in his first season.

Thereafter Spies became blighted by physical issues, most notably a shoulder injury that required numerous operations but with left him significantly little strength as a result.

His form created ructions in the Yamaha fold too, with Spies revealing in 2013 that he was told by a senior Yamaha team member 'we've invested a lot of money in you, [so] don't come to Laguna Seca if you aren't 100 percent’ when he was forced to miss a MotoGP test due to food poisoning.

However, after joining Pramac Ducati for 2013, he started just two races with the team before he eventually announced his retirement midway through the year as a result of the shoulder injury.

Though the injury had been troubling him for some time by this stage, Spies reveals a scary off-track moment during free practice at the Italian MotoGP race confirmed to him he couldn’t continue as he was or risk a much more serious accident involving other riders going forward.

“I remember in 2013 I was at Mugello, taking the chicane before the last corner, at the exit I was doing a nice drift but the rubber regained grip and the front took my hand and I released my shoulder but I could not shut the gas,” he told GPOne. “I lost the braking point by 50m, I managed to slow down in the gravel and not crash into the wall.

“What would have happened to me if something similar happened in the first laps of a race? I could have involved two or three riders at over 300km/h. It was the moment when I realised I was in trouble.

“I ran in AMA with a broken wrist, these are injuries that you can manage, but not the shoulder, especially when it is not stable. I would have liked to withdraw in a better way, but it went like this.”

Talking more about the pain he went through to get the shoulder back to strength, he says giving up racing was a necessary sacrifice.

“My right shoulder practically no longer exists. I underwent surgery seven times, I no longer have the necessary stability. I could have undergone another operation to fix it, but if it had gone wrong it would have been very painful and I would have had to operate again, all this to maybe run for another three years, so the doctors advised me not to.”