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Spies to miss Spanish MotoGP

MYT 11:55:03 PM

(Reuters) - American MotoGP rider Ben Spies will miss next week's Spanish Grand Prix due to injury, his Pramac Ducati team said on Wednesday.

The Tennessee-born former world superbike champion is expected to be replaced on the non-works bike by Ducati's Italian test rider Michele Pirro for the May 5 race at Jerez.

Ducati Pramac MotoGP rider Ben Spies of the U.S. poses with the bike that will compete in the MotoGP 2013 season during the Wrooom, F1 and MotoGP Press Ski Meeting, Ducati and Ferrari's annual media gathering, in Madonna di Campiglio January 16, 2013. REUTERS/Max Rossi
Ducati Pramac MotoGP rider Ben Spies of the U.S. poses with the bike that will compete in the MotoGP 2013 season during the Wrooom, F1 and MotoGP Press Ski Meeting, Ducati and Ferrari's annual media gathering, in Madonna di Campiglio January 16, 2013. REUTERS/Max Rossi

Pramac Racing said in a statement that Spies needed three consecutive weeks of intense rehabilitation to alleviate a strain in his pectorals and back muscles.

Spies injured his shoulder in a heavy fall in Malaysia last October and missed the last two races of 2012 as well as initial pre-season testing. He reported more pain in last weekend's race in Austin, Texas.

"I had a little problem with a nerve in my chest... I don't know if it's from overcompensating for my shoulder problem," he said after the race. "Two laps before the end of the warm-up, I had a twinge in my chest. It was like a knife."

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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