Spies' longtime crew chief...
Spies' longtime crew chief Tom Houseworth will also be making the move with Spies to the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha team in 2010.
In what was a wildly-rumored but somewhat expected move considering the ambiguity of the previous announcement when the company revealed that current World Superbike rider Ben Spies had signed on for two more years, Yamaha announced today that Spies will indeed move directly to MotoGP next year, instead of staying in the World Superbike series for one year before making the step to the premier class in 2011. Spies will be joining fellow Texan Colin Edwards at the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha team, replacing former World Superbike champion James Toseland, who will be taking Spies’ place in the Yamaha WSBK squad. Spies’ longtime crew chief Tom Houseworth and mechanic Greg Wood will also be making the move along with Spies to MotoGP.
Spies turned heads with his...
Spies turned heads with his several one-off rides in MotoGP last year on the Rizla Suzuki.
“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 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 my 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, is surely looking at Spies’ move as a preemptive measure for 2011, when the contracts of both Fiat Yamaha riders Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo expire. “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,” said Jarvis. “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.”
Toseland’s move back to World Superbike was widely expected, as his results have been sub-par during the British rider’s two seasons in MotoGP. Meanwhile, current teammate Edwards has been consistently out-performing him, with the much-publicized spat between the two due to Toseland’s “poaching” of Edwards’ former crew chief this year adding to the American’s motivation and increased tension within the team. With Spies taking his place, it’s a sure bet that the wall separating the two Monster Tech 3 Yamaha riders (as is also the case with the factory Fiat Yamaha team) will be taken down.