If a group of catty women were sitting around evaluating Ben Spies' racing career in potential boyfriend terms, they'd probably say that he's, at the moment, a bit of a fixer-upper.
The fixer-upper boyfriend, as we understand it, has several redeeming qualities, a good history, but just needs a good polish, some clothes, maybe the extraction of a mentally unstable ex-girlfriend from the situation. Once that's accomplished he'd be considered good boyfriend material, and maybe more.
Ben Spies has a good history. He's a former AMA and World Superbike champion. He's an ex-rookie of the year in MotoGP, has won a MotoGP race, and nearly beat Casey Stoner at the final MotoGP of the 800cc era. Spies is very fast, capable and is proven. At the moment he has accomplished more than Cal Crutchlow, Alvaro Bautista, Stefan Bradl, Bradley Smith and several others.
In boyfriend terms Spies doesn't need much of a polish, his dark and mysterious personality long ago drew in an exquisite Italian girlfriend, Patricia.
Mostly because he intentionally shielded it, few knew how bad Ben Spies' left shoulder injury was and how extensive the repair work had to be--Spies' muscle tissue was so damaged that they had to substitute it with frozen dead human parts (Coracoclavicular ligament reconstruction and tightrope implant with cadaver tissue). You can't just stitch in dead tissue and begin training the next week, it takes time to get the ligaments working and ready to take abuse.
There are Italians who feel that Ben Spies has been the smartest Ducati rider of the 2013 MotoGP season. Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso have tried every setting, tested "nothing new" so many times it must be dizzying. And where has it gotten them? Hayden has the bravest face of all, but the disappointment that Dovi feels is clear as the tattoos on his arms. Spies is rested up, healed up and hasn't had his confidence corrupted by trying ten million different combinations, none of which work unless the track is cool or it's raining.
Spies is an introvert and it's difficult even for those who are close to him to know what he is thinking. It's not a mistake of fate that he and Casey Stoner are close friends--they share the same philosophies on a good many subjects. Spies does not reveal himself or his thoughts to many, preferring to keep his own company. But Spies looked confident yesterday in the Indy press conference and afterward walked with a bit of his old swagger.
Is he fixed up and ready to show off to your catty girlfriends or your parents? Maybe. Just don't expect him to say a lot at dinner.