It's looking more and more likely that Ben Spies will only start two races in his first season with Pramac Ducati due to shoulder and chest injuries, but he insists he will keep the ride for 2014 despite rumors circulating in European media.
Spies only has started three of the seasonat Qatar, CoTA and Jerezdue to lingering problems with his shoulder that was surgically rebuilt last October, chest muscle problems and an injury to his other shoulder in August at Indianapolis.
Pramac this week hired Colombian Yonny Hernandez to ride Spies' GP13 after Hernandez was released from his contract with Paul Bird Motorsport. Spies' super-sub this season, Michele Pirro, isn't available this fall due to his increased workload as the factory test rider for Ducati, which is developing its GP14 bike.
The hiring of Hernandez only has increased speculation Ducati may try to buy out the second year of Spies' contract. But Spies is having none of it.
"My relationship with Ducati is great," Spies said. "Nothing is going on there, like I have read about. You hear about all of these crazy stories, but that is basically it. There is nothing to (it).
"I am talking with Ducati every few days, and they are keeping me up to date with what is going on with the bike, what is going to be tested, what I am doing and so on. That is where we are at right now.
Note Spies specified that his relationship with Ducati is healthy, not mentioning Pramac.
"I wish (Hernandez) luck. It is a great opportunity for him - unfortunately at my expense - but I hope he does a good job and is able to do well.
"Right now we are just watching, kind of from the outside, and waiting to see the first time we can come back. Before setting any goal (for 2014), the first step is just to get back to 100 percent, and then we have plenty of time to get back on the bike and reset goals. I haven't felt that in a long time. If we can do that, then I know what we can do, and the team knows what we can do."