At 14 years of age, Ben Spies had a decision to make.
Major League Baseball or motorcycle racing.
Two wheels won with Spies electing to pursue his motorcycling dreams and putting aside aspirations of being a pitcher in professional baseball.
On Thursday afternoon in his home state, two-time World Superbike champ and long-time MotoGP pilot Colin Edwards announced that his racing days would come to an end following the conclusion of the 2014 season.
Edwards’ impending retirement not only closes the book on an illustrious career, it further underlines the suddenly shaky foothold the United States has in the Grand Prix world — and with relatively little hope for a swift return to form.
Ducati and Ben Spies have announced that the American is to retire from racing competition. The Ignite Pramac Racing rider has competed in only two MotoGP races so far this season in a year heavily affected by injuries.
“Ducati Motor Holding and Ben Spies announced today that the American will not be racing in 2014 after the parties reached agreement to resolve Ben’s current contract with the Italian racing manufacturer,” reads a Saturday statement.
“The 29-year-old Texan had signed a two-year agreement with Ducati at the end of last season to race in MotoGP in 2013 and 2014 as part of the factory-supported Ignite Pramac Racing Team.”
Having injured his right shoulder while competing with Yamaha Factory Racing in the 2012 Malaysian Grand Prix, Spies required further rehabilitation this year and suffered a further setback when he crashed in free practice at Indianapolis.
PROGRAMMING NOTE: The Red Bull Indianapolis GP will air LIVE on FOX Sports 1 on Sunday, August 18 in a four-hour programming block that starts at 11:00am ET.
The Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix got underway today as a star-studded press conference saw proceedings kick-off at the infamous Brickyard. Repsol Honda Team’s championship leading rookie Marc Marquez was joined by teammate Dani Pedrosa, Yamaha Factory Racing duo Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi, Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow, LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl, as well as Ignite Pramac Racing’s Ben Spies, who makes his long-awaited return from injury.
Crutchlow, whose switch to the Ducati Team for 2014 was announced during the summer break, was the center of attention for the gathered press. He commented: “After Laguna we decided that we were going to stay in America and take a break here, but it wasn’t too much of a break. We had a busy first week and then we obviously released that I’ll be riding for Ducati next year. Really pleased and it was nice to get that done, we can settle for the rest of the year now and see how that goes. Yes there are pros and cons for everything. The most difficult thing was making the phone call to Herve. It was quite an emotional phone call. It was a difficult decision to make but I am pleased to secure my future.”