Ben Spies arrived at Misano for the San Marino Grand Prix on the heels of news that he has signed for Ducati team next year, drawing a line under thoughts of a return to World Superbikes and repeating his statements that he still has plenty more to prove in the MotoGP paddock.
The official announcement from Ducati also confirmed his teammate as Moto2 hotshot Andrea Iannone, who has a successful test of the Desmosedici the previous week, lapping Mugello faster than Valentino Rossi had in qualifying.
The team will be supplied with full factory equipment, and run by current satellite team operators Pramac.
For Ducati, it brings another strong rider on line to help with development of the currently trouble-some Desmosedici. The factory is reeling after the failure of its marriage with Valentino Rossi, though the Italian did have his best finish of the season in Misano when he ran second to Jorge Lorenzo. For Ben Spies, signing with Ducati is a risk, but also represents the only opportunity to stay in MotoGP on a factory motorcycle. He also had an offer of a Honda from the San Carlo Gresini team, but probably not a full factory-spec motorcycle. He also had signed a letter of intent to join the BMW World Superbike team before electing to stay instead in MotoGP.
'Next year is going to be a big adventure and a big change,' said Ben Spies. 'I don't know what I can do in MotoGP, but I know I haven't got the most out of myself yet. I had to think a lot about it, and I don't want to look back in five years knowing I didn't reach my full potential.'
Andrea Iannone, who first tested a Ducati last year, sought advice from Valentino Rossi before sealing his relationship with Ducati.
'Valentino Rossi was in agreement with my choice,' he said, adding that his only other premier class chances would have been in a satellite team or in CRT. He preferred the full factory choice..