Yamaha Motor Company., Ltd herewith confirms that Ben Spies, currently 2nd in the World Superbike Championship, will be moving to the MotoGP Championship in 2010 to join the Tech 3 Yamaha Team. The Texan recently signed a two-year deal with Yamaha, which originally planned for him to remain in World Superbike for one more year before moving to MotoGP in 2011, but Spies and Yamaha together have decided to advance the move by one year. The 25-year-old is currently just three points behind and has just two more World Superbike rounds to contest in his efforts to win his and Yamaha’s first World Superbike title.
Ben Spies Speaks…
"I want to thank Yamaha globally for their faith in me," said Spies. "They have treated me like royalty! Yamaha just recently allowed me to rethink my contract for 2010-2011; I did sign for WSB for 2010 but after Indy I began thinking of the competition and my age versus waiting until 2011. This was not an easy decision, the Yamaha World Superbike Team crew and especially Massimo (Maio) Meregalli have been fantastic and it’s been great fun to put in a season together. I am hoping that I can give Maio, Laurens Klein Koerkamp and everyone else a championship to remember this year with me. My thanks also extend to ‘Infront’, the promoter of the WSB series, especially Paolo Ciabatti. I have enjoyed his series and this first year racing in Europe. Now I have two challenges, to complete this year giving my best and to move towards new goals in MotoGP. Herve Poncharal at Tech 3 is showing his support by allowing me to come on board with my Crew Chief Tom Houseworth and Gregory Wood, my mechanic, who have both been with me since AMA days. We will have learning curves to overcome next year but I am up for the new goal. I hope to have a good year and my goal is to try and stay in the top 6-8 which, given the talented line up, will be a tall order. With the world upside down, there is one constant for me and that’s Yamaha."
Lin Jarvis, Managing Director of Yamaha Motor Racing, said "Following the announcement of Ben’s two year deal with Yamaha one month ago, he has reassessed his options and decided that he would like to move to MotoGP sooner rather than later. Yamaha has considered his request and together with Tech 3 we were able to find a way to make it happen. Ben has done a fantastic job in his rookie season in World Superbike and we are very excited to now be welcoming him into our MotoGP program sooner than we originally expected. We believe that Ben will be a fast learner next season and a strong future championship contender. We look forward to working with him in the years ahead."
Laurens Klein Koerkamp of Yamaha Motor Europe commented, "Of course we’re sorry to see Ben leave Yamaha’s World Superbike program and we are currently enjoying a fantastic season with him, but it’s clear that it’s the right decision for Ben’s career and for Yamaha. One of Yamaha’s goals is to bring up future MotoGP talent through Superbike and it is satisfying for us to see that this rider development route is working. Before he moves we still have some serious business to finish with Ben this year at the remaining two rounds!
"Although Ben will be missed I have no doubt that our new World Superbike line-up for next year will see us once again challenging for the title. We will be cheering loudly for Ben in MotoGP and we look forward to seeing him on the YZR-M1."