At 16, Ben Spies turned pro motorcycle racer. Spies, or "Elbowz," continued to impress, taking the AMA Superbike Championship in 2006. He then defended the AMA SBK title for the following two years, not allowing Mat Mladin to regain the thrown. In 2009, Spies moved to World Superbike aboard the Yamaha Sterilgarda YZF-R1. He dominated, winning the championship in his rookie year. His next stop was MotoGP in 2010, landing a ride next to fellow American Colin Edwards on the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha YZR-M1. In his debut year, Spies finished sixth, earning the 2010 MotoGP "Rookie of the Year" award. This led to a full factory ride aboard the Yamaha, taking the vacant seat left by Valentino Rossi, who moved to the Ducati MotoGP Team. Spies showed promise throughout the 2011 MotoGP pre-season, and finished the opening round at Qatar in sixth place, beating out Rossi. This video from Alpinestars gives an inside view of Spies as the Texan talks of his rise through the AMA ranks to World Superbike to MotoGP. Alpinestars says: "The simple thrill of the race defines the passion behind Ben Spies' approach to riding a motorcycle. From a very young age, Ben could hardly contain the excitement and emotion that emerged from seeing motorcycles accelerate around a track. "Now, as he enters into his second season of Moto GP, Ben reflects back on his rise up through AMA and World Superbike racing. While embracing that childhood enthusiasm and channeling his desire for greatness, there is no doubt that Ben Spies is aiming to make history in the upcoming 2011 Moto GP season."