Ben Spies

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Ben Spies
Ben Spies 2010 Qatar.jpg
Spies at the 2010 Qatar Grand Prix.
Nationality  American
Born (1984-07-11) July 11, 1984 (age 29)
Memphis, Tennessee, United States
Website BenSpies.com
Motorcycle racing career statistics
MotoGP World Championship
Active years 20082013
Manufacturers Suzuki (2008)
Yamaha (20092012)
Ducati (2013)
Championships 0
2013 Championship position 21st (9 pts)
Starts Wins Podiums Poles F. laps Points
55 1 6 1 1 478
Superbike World Championship
Active years 2009
Manufacturers Yamaha
Championships 1 (2009)
Starts Wins Podiums Poles F. laps Points
28 14 17 11 6 462

Ben Spies (/ˈbɛn ˈspz/; born July 11, 1984 in Memphis, Tennessee), also known as "Elbowz" due to his riding style where his elbows protrude outward,[1] is a former professional motorcycle road racer who turned pro in 2000. He won the AMA Superbike Championship for Yoshimura Suzuki in 2006, and successfully defended it in 2007 and 2008.

For 2009 he raced in the Superbike World Championship series for the Yamaha Italia team; winning the championship in his rookie year by six points over rival Noriyuki Haga. He started racing on Yamaha YSR50cc bikes with the Central Motorcycle Roadracing Association in Texas when he was 8 years old. Spies currently lives in Italy. On October 26, 2013, Spies announced his retirement from motorcycle racing after two debilitating crashes left him with permanent shoulder injuries.[2]

Racing history[edit]

Pre-AMA[edit]

Spies started riding motorcycles at the age of five and racing with CMRA at the age of eight in 1993. In 1994, he won a YSR championship followed by an 80cc championship the following season. At age 12, he started riding 125 Grand Prix bikes, traveling to WERA races outside of Texas. At age 14, Spies started riding 600s, winning more championships. He signed with Suzuki in 2000 at the age of 15, and began his AMA career.[3]

AMA[edit]

Spies at Infineon Raceway in 2005 riding Suzuki.

In 2000 Spies raced with the Valvoline Suzuki team. He took a season-best 5th-place finish at the Pikes Peak International Raceway round of the AMA 750 Supersport series, won the AMA Horizon Award for road racing. In late 2000 he qualified on the front row for his debut in the AMA Supersport Championship series.

Again with Valvoline Suzuki in 2001, Spies won the Pikes Peak round of the AMA 750 SuperStock Championship, and took four additional series podium finishes. American Suzuki then removed him from the team and placed in with Attack Suzuki.

For 2002 Spies joined the Attack Suzuki team, paired with Jason Pridmore. He earned three top-five finishes in AMA Supersport, and four top-five finishes in AMA Formula Xtreme. He was troubled by a knee injury for much of the season.

Now with American Suzuki team, Spies won the 2003 AMA Formula Xtreme Championship with five wins and two additional podium finishes. He also contested the AMA Supersport series, earning a win at Road Atlanta and taking two additional podium finishes. His best AMA Superbike result this year was seventh-place at Daytona Intl Speedway

Again with American Suzuki team in 2004, Spies raced in the AMA Supersport Championship, earning a win at Infineon Raceway and taking two additional series podium finishes. He earned wins in the AMA Superstock Championship races at California Speedway and Road Atlanta, and earned two additional podium finishes in the series.

In 2005 Spies won the AMA Superbike race at California Speedway and earned 13 additional podium finishes. He was runner-up for the AMA Superbike title, and raced in AMA Supersport, earning five top-five finishes.

Spies joined the Yoshimura Suzuki team in 2006. He won the AMA Superbike Championship title with 10 wins and seven additional podium finishes. Spies took six successive wins early in the 2006 season, and went on to win the title by 649 points to 641. In total he took 7 poles and 17 podiums,[4] and lead the most laps 10 times. Spies also raced in select AMA Supersport events, earning a podium finish at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

2007 produced one of the tightest championship battles in the history of the series, Spies winning a second AMA Superbike Championship by a single point over Mladin.[5] Spies collected seven wins and 12 additional podium finishes during the season. He captured Superbike pole position at nine events, and also won the AMA Superstock title with seven wins and seven pole positions.[6]

In 2008 Spies won his third straight AMA Superbike Championship to become only the fourth rider in the history of the series to win the title three consecutive times (after Reg Pridmore, Fred Merkel and Mat Mladin). This included an AMA Superbike record of seven successive wins.

MotoGP Appearances[edit]

Spies started as a wild-card in place of injured Loris Capirossi at the British GP on 22 June 2008. An outing that saw him qualify in 8th on the grid and finish in 14th place, scoring his first MotoGP points. This was in addition to two pre-planned rides at both U.S. rounds. He tested for Rizla Suzuki at Indianapolis on July 2, 2008, in preparations for the new U.S. Grand Prix. Top ten finishes followed at both Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in 8th and in 6th at Indianapolis.

He was not offered a full-time ride by Suzuki for 2009 with all the success he gave to Suzuki and had an option year in his contract. The decision was made by Mel Harris who now is no longer with Suzuki. Masayuki Itoh retired because of the departure of Spies.

World Superbike (WSBK)[edit]

Spies at the Assen round of the 2009 season.

On October 1, 2008, it was confirmed that Spies would join the Superbike World Championship for the 2009 season, riding for the factory Yamaha Italia team.[7] He took pole position for his very first race meeting. He ran off the track on the first lap in race one (recovering to finish sixteenth despite a second incident) but was victorious in race 2 to become the first American to win a WSBK race since Colin Edwards in 2002.

Spies further impressed the world motorcycle racing community by winning both races of the second round in Losail, Qatar. En route, he again secured pole, the subsequent race wins, the fastest lap and the outright circuit lap record.

Spies made history on May 30, 2009 at Miller Motorsports Park. Winning his 7th consecutive pole position during Saturday's Superpole qualifying, Spies broke the long-standing record of 6 consecutive poles set in 1991 by fellow Texan Doug Polen. The pole set a number of records, including most consecutive pole positions in a season, most poles to start a season, and most in a row by a rookie. On October 24, 2009 at Portimão Circuit in Portugal he set a new record securing his 11th pole of his rookie season. This despite having no previous experience at the majority of circuits on the WSBK calendar.

Spies at the 2010 Qatar Grand Prix.

On October 25, 2009 at the final round of the Championship at Portimão, Spies was crowned the 2009 Superbike World Champion after winning Race One, in conjunction with a fall from title rival Noriyuki Haga, and a solid 5th place in Race 2.[8]

MotoGP[edit]

2009[edit]

On October 1, 2009, Yamaha officially confirmed that Spies would replace James Toseland at the Yamaha Tech 3 team for the 2010 MotoGP Championship.[9] Two days later it was confirmed that Spies would ride as a wildcard for the Yamaha Sterilgarda team, in the final MotoGP race of the season at Valencia in November,.[10] Spies began the race from 12th place, but made his way through the pack, finishing in seventh place.[11]

2010[edit]

Spies started the season with fifth place at Losail, his best ever on a MotoGP bike, before retiring in the next two races with a mechanical problem at Jerez and a crash at Le Mans.[12] Spies took his first MotoGP podium at Silverstone in Great Britain, taking a third place finish. Spies took second place from pole at home at Indianapolis. He finished the 2010 MotoGP season in sixth place, securing Rookie of the Year honours.

2011[edit]

Spies moved to the factory Yamaha Motor Racing Team alongside 2010 champion Jorge Lorenzo in 2011. He started the season with a sixth place finish in Qatar, before crashing out of the next two races at Jerez and Estoril. After another sixth place in France, Spies achieved his first podium of the season with a third place in Catalunya, having held off Repsol Honda's Andrea Dovizioso.[13] Spies suffered another crash at the British Grand Prix, crashing out at Turn 1 in wet conditions. Two weeks later, Spies narrowly missed out on pole position for the Dutch TT in Assen; he qualified second, just 0.009 seconds behind Gresini Racing's Marco Simoncelli.[14] Spies and team-mate Lorenzo jumped ahead of Simoncelli at the start, and took the first two placings into the first corner. Simoncelli and Lorenzo later made contact and both riders fell, giving Spies a 2.5-second lead after the first lap.[15] Spies extended his advantage to almost eight seconds by the end of the race, and took his first MotoGP win in the process.[16]

Spies at the 2011 Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island; he did not start the race after suffering a concussion and rib tearing after a crash in qualifying.

After his win at Assen, Spies finished each of the following five races in the top five, taking fourth places at Mugello and Laguna Seca, fifth places at the Sachsenring and Brno, and concluding the streak with his third podium of the season – a third place[17] – at the Indianapolis Grand Prix. Having qualified second, Spies made contact on the first lap with Dovizioso, and as a result, fell to as low as ninth place before making several late braking moves to progress through the order. Sixth at Misano was followed by fifth at Aragón and another sixth at Motegi helped to maintain his fifth place in the championship. At the Australian Grand Prix, Spies crashed during qualifying at over 250 km/h (155 mph), sliding into the gravel, resulting in a concussion and tearing to his ribs, but managed to qualify seventh on the grid.[18] However, his injuries forced him to pull out on race morning, and were also a factor in his similar withdrawal from the Malaysian Grand Prix, having qualified 16th out of the 17 riders and after two further practice crashes.[19] Spies finished the season with a second place finish in Valencia, missing out on victory at the line, to Casey Stoner by just 0.015 seconds, having capitalised on a previous error by Stoner to take the lead.[20]

His biography "Taking It To The Next Level" was published by David Bull Publishing and was launched at the Indianapolis Grand Prix on August 26, 2011.

2012[edit]

Spies remained with the factory Yamaha team into the 2012 season, again partnering Jorge Lorenzo. Spies placed eleventh in the first two races of the season in Qatar and Jerez, before taking his first top ten with eighth in Portugal. After missing out on the points at Le Mans, Spies finished tenth in Catalunya before three top-five finishes in succession; he took a fifth place finish at Silverstone before a pair of fourths at Assen and the Sachsenring. He finished eleventh at Mugello, falling 119 points behind team-mate Lorenzo in the standings. He retired from each of the following three races, before taking a pair of fifth place finishes at the Grands Prix in San Marino and Aragon. An issue with his bike's brakes forced a retirement in Japan,[21] while he crashed out in Malaysia; he suffered injuries in the accident which ruled him out for the rest of the season.[22] He finished tenth in the final championship standings, with 88 points.

On July 24, it was announced that Spies would leave the factory Yamaha team at the end of the 2012 season.[23] On September 12, it was announced that Spies would remain in MotoGP for the 2013 season, joining the satellite Pramac Racing Ducati squad as part of a two-rider team alongside Moto2 graduate Andrea Iannone.[24]

2013[edit]

After finishing the first two races of the season with the Pramac Ducati squad, he was out of many races due to injury. He made an attempt to return at Indianapolis, but crashed and suffered more injuries, ruling him out for most of the rest of the season. However, on October 26, during the Japanese GP weekend at Motegi, he announced his retirement from racing due to his injuries.

Career statistics[edit]

All-time stats[edit]

Year Series Poles Races Podiums Wins 2nd place 3rd place Fast laps Titles
All-time World Superbike 11 28 17 14 2 1 6 1
All-time MotoGP 1 55 6 1 2 3 1 0
All-time AMA Superbike 43 74 68 29 31 8 30 3
All-time AMA Superstock 11 27 12 9 3 0 8 1
All-time AMA Formula Xtreme 1 10 7 5 0 2 8 1
All-time AMA Supersport 2 28 4 1 2 1 2 0
Year Series Bike Poles Races Podiums Wins 2nd place 3rd place Fast laps Position
2013 MotoGP Ducati GP13 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 21st
2012 MotoGP Yamaha YZR-M1 0 16 0 0 0 0 0 10th
2011 MotoGP Yamaha YZR-M1 0 16 4 1 1 2 1 5th
2010 MotoGP Yamaha YZR-M1 1 17 2 0 1 1 0 6th
2009 World Superbike Yamaha YZF-R1 11 28 17 14 2 1 6 1st
2009 MotoGP Yamaha YZR-M1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 20th
2008 AMA Superbike Suzuki GSXR-1000 15 19 18 10 8 0 9 1st
2008 MotoGP Suzuki GSV-R 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 19th
2007 AMA Superbike Suzuki GSXR-1000 15 19 19 8 11 0 9 1st
2007 AMA Superstock Suzuki GSXR-1000 7 8 7 7 0 0 6 1st
2006 AMA Superbike Suzuki GSXR-1000 13 19 17 10 6 1 9 1st
2006 AMA Supersport Suzuki GSXR-600 0 7 1 0 0 1 0 14th
2005 AMA Superbike Suzuki GSXR-1000 0 17 14 1 6 7 1 2nd
2005 AMA Supersport Suzuki GSXR-600 0 10 0 0 0 0 0 4th
2004 AMA Supersport Suzuki GSXR-600 2 11 3 1 2 0 2 4th
2004 AMA Superstock Suzuki GSXR-1000 4 11 4 2 2 0 2 5th
2003 AMA Formula Xtreme Suzuki GSXR-1000 1 10 7 5 0 2 1 1st
2003 AMA Supersport Suzuki GSXR-600 0 11 3 1 0 2 0 9th
2003 AMA Superbike Suzuki GSXR-1000 0 5 0 0 0 0 0 54th
2002 AMA Formula Xtreme Suzuki GSXR-1000 0 10 0 0 0 0 0 6th
2002 AMA Supersport Suzuki GSXR-600 0 10 0 0 0 0 0 9th
2002 AMA Superstock Suzuki GSXR-600 0 8 1 0 1 0 0 55th

Grand Prix motorcycle racing results[edit]

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position, races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Yr Class Make 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 Final Pos Pts
2008 MotoGP Suzuki QAT ESP POR CHN FRA ITA CAT GBR
14
NED GER USA
8
CZE RSM IND
6
JPN AUS MAL VAL 19th 20
2009 MotoGP Yamaha QAT JPN SPA FRA ITA CAT NED USA GER GBR CZE IND RSM POR AUS MAL VAL
7
20th 9
2010 MotoGP Yamaha QAT
5
SPA
Ret
FRA
Ret
ITA
7
GBR
3
NED
4
CAT
6
GER
8
USA
6
CZE
4
IND
2
RSM
6
ARA
5
JPN
8
MAL
4
AUS
5
POR
DNS
VAL
4
6th 176
2011 MotoGP Yamaha QAT
6
SPA
Ret
POR
Ret
FRA
6
CAT
3
GBR
Ret
NED
1
ITA
4
GER
5
USA
4
CZE
5
IND
3
RSM
6
ARA
5
JPN
6
AUS
DNS
MAL
C
VAL
2
5th 176
2012 MotoGP Yamaha QAT
11
SPA
11
POR
8
FRA
16
CAT
10
GBR
5
NED
4
GER
4
ITA
11
USA
Ret
IND
Ret
CZE
Ret
RSM
5
ARA
5
JPN
Ret
MAL
Ret
AUS VAL 10th 88
2013 MotoGP Ducati QAT
10
AME
13
SPA FRA ITA
DNS
CAT NED GER USA IND
DNS
CZE GBR RSM ARA MAL AUS JPN VAL 21st 9

Superbike World Championship[edit]

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position, races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Make 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 Pos Pts
R1 R2 R1 R2 R1 R2 R1 R2 R1 R2 R1 R2 R1 R2 R1 R2 R1 R2 R1 R2 R1 R2 R1 R2 R1 R2 R1 R2
2009 Yamaha AUS
16
AUS
1
QAT
1
QAT
1
SPA
Ret
SPA
2
NED
1
NED
Ret
ITA
15
ITA
1
RSA
3
RSA
Ret
USA
1
USA
1
SMR
1
SMR
9
GBR
1
GBR
1
CZE
Ret
CZE
1
GER
1
GER
2
ITA
4
ITA
5
FRA
1
FRA
4
POR
1
POR
5
1st 462

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Ben Spies Interview". SuperbikePlanet.com. Retrieved 2008-07-21. 
  2. ^ "Ben Spies retires from racing". Crash.net (Crash Media Group). October 26, 2013. Retrieved October 26, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Ben Spies CMRA Hall of Fame 2005". cmraracing.com. Retrieved 2009-09-15. 
  4. ^ "2006 AMA Superbike Results". SuperbikePlanet.com. Archived from the original on 20 February 2007. Retrieved 2007-02-10. 
  5. ^ "Spies Wins Laguna Seca Classic and Championship". SuperbikePlanet.com. Retrieved 2007-09-16. 
  6. ^ http://www.rockstar69.com/athlete.php?ath=142
  7. ^ http://www.worldsbk.com/pubb_EN/news_ext.php?id=2807
  8. ^ http://www.motorcyclenews.com/MCN/sport/sportresults/MotoGP/2009/September/sep1709-toseland-loses-motogp-ride/
  9. ^ "Toseland loses MotoGP ride to Spies". Insidebikes. Retrieved October 1, 2009. 
  10. ^ "Spies to make wild card appearance at Valencia". MotoGP.com. Archived from the original on 14 October 2009. Retrieved October 7, 2009. 
  11. ^ http://www.motorcyclenews.com/MCN/sport/sportresults/MotoGP/2009/November/nov0909-spies-super-happy-with-seventh/
  12. ^ "Le Mans – Race Weekend". benspies.com (Ben Spies). 2010-05-23. Archived from the original on 18 September 2010. Retrieved 2010-09-23. 
  13. ^ Birt, Matthew (June 6, 2011). "Ben Spies relieved with podium return". Motor Cycle News (Bauer Media Group). Retrieved November 8, 2011. 
  14. ^ "Fantastic Front Row for Spies at Assen". MotoGP.com (Dorna Sports). June 24, 2011. Retrieved November 8, 2011. 
  15. ^ "Iveco TT Assen: MotoGP Analysis by Lap" (PDF). MotoGP.com. Dorna Sports. June 25, 2011. Retrieved November 8, 2011. 
  16. ^ "Spies on "comfortable win" at Assen". MotoGP.com (Dorna Sports). June 25, 2011. Retrieved November 8, 2011. 
  17. ^ "Spies Strikes back to score home podium at Indy". MotoGP.com (Dorna Sports). August 28, 2011. Retrieved November 8, 2011. 
  18. ^ "Lorenzo stays sharp to secure front row start at Phillip Island". MotoGP.com (Dorna Sports). October 15, 2011. Retrieved November 8, 2011. 
  19. ^ "Ben Spies to withdraw from Malaysian Grand Prix". MotoGP.com (Dorna Sports). October 22, 2011. Retrieved November 8, 2011. 
  20. ^ "Stoner wins dramatic Valencia GP at the line, Dovizioso seals third in the Championship". MotoGP.com (Dorna Sports). November 6, 2011. Retrieved November 8, 2011. 
  21. ^ "Brakes blamed for Ben Spies Motegi exit". Crash.net (Crash Media Group). October 15, 2012. Retrieved January 8, 2013. 
  22. ^ "Ben Spies to miss rest of season because of injury". BBC Sport (BBC). October 28, 2012. Retrieved January 8, 2013. 
  23. ^ "Ben Spies to leave Yamaha at end of the season". BBC Sport (BBC). July 24, 2012. Retrieved July 25, 2012. 
  24. ^ "Ben Spies and Andrea Iannone to ride for Pramac Ducati in 2013 MotoGP". The Guardian (Guardian Media Group). Press Association. September 12, 2012. Retrieved September 12, 2012. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Troy Bayliss
World Superbike Champion
2009
Succeeded by
Max Biaggi
Preceded by
Mat Mladin
AMA Superbike Champion
2006–2008
Succeeded by
Mat Mladin
Preceded by
Jamie Hacking
AMA Superstock Champion
2007
Succeeded by
Aaron Yates
Preceded by
Jason Pridmore
AMA Formula Extreme Champion
2003
Succeeded by
Miguel Duhamel