The kid from Texas is moving up the world racing ladder quickly, heading off to the pinnacle of the sport for next year.
In a move expected by many, yet unofficial until now, American World Superbike rookie Ben Spies will essentially trade places with Monster Tech 3 Yamaha MotoGP rider James Toseland for next year, regardless if Spies wins the world title this year or not. Spies will join fellow American Colin Edwards on the Tech 3 squad, making for ‘Team Texas’. Toseland, who has been in MotoGP with Yamaha Tech 3 for two years now, will go back to his old home of World Superbike, this time for the Yamaha team Spies currently rides for. Toseland is a two-time former World Superbike Champion, but his tenure in MotoGP didn’t last long. Can homeboy Spies do better?
“I want to thank Yamaha globally for their faith in me,” said Spies in a Yamaha press release issued today. “They have treated me like royalty. Yamaha just recently allowed me to rethink my contract for 2010-2011; I did sign for World Superbike 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 World Superbike 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 six to eight 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.”
Added Yamaha’s Managing Director of Racing Lin Jarvis: “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.”
With the added motivation that he won’t be in World Superbike next year there’s no doubt Spies will be giving it 110% at the final two round of the series to go for the title in his rookies season. He currently sits a mere three points shy of Noriyuki Haga, which essentially means the championship is tied. It’s going to be a good one. Stayed tuned as we will be live at the final round as well as riding Spies’ and all the other Superbikes the Monday after!