The saga of when Ben Spies will move to MotoGP has finally been settled with an official announcement that the World Superbike title contender will
move to Tech 3 Yamaha in 2010.
With Colin Edwards also agreeing a one-year Tech 3 extension, former double World Superbike champion James Toseland is to swap with Spies and join the factory Yamaha WSBK team, bringing an end to Toseland's MotoGP career - which began promisingly in 2008, but fell below expectations in 2009.
The Spies announcement had been expected despite a previous press release from Yamaha, issued on September 4, which stated that the WSBK rookie had signed a new two-year contract which 'foresees a season in 2010 with the Yamaha World Superbike Team and a switch to Yamaha's satellite MotoGP team for 2011.'
But when no-one at Yamaha was able to clarify that Spies would definitely stay in WSBK next year, a simple question which needed only a 'yes/no' answer, it was clear that Spies remained in contention for the second satellite 2010 M1 ride alongside fellow Texan Colin Edwards.
At first it was thought that Yamaha would wait for Spies to win the WSBK crown but, having finally taken the title lead at Nurburgring, the triple AMA champion lost the advantage back to Ducati's Noriyuki Haga last Sunday at Imola.
“It gives me great pleasure to welcome Ben to Tech 3," said team manager Herve Poncharal. "It's a very exciting prospect having a rider of Ben's calibre join our team. Everybody is aware that he is a rider with i ncredible talent and huge potential, which he has proved with some outstanding performances for Yamaha in World Superbikes this season.
“And I have no doubt that together with Tech 3, Yamaha and Monster that Ben will be a big success in 2010 in MotoGP. Colin and Ben together means Tech 3 will arguably field its strongest ever line-up and everybody in the team can look forward to 2010 with tremendous excitement and optimism.
Heralding an all-American line-up for 2010, Edwards re-signs as the top satellite rider with sixth place in the world championship standings, compared to Toseland, who is only 13th after a tough season.
“I am delighted that Colin will remain with the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team in 2010. He has proved once again in 2009 that he remains one of the world's best riders and he is a tremendous asset for Tech 3, Yamaha and Monster. Colin has been an integral part of our recent success and his dedication and impressive performances mean his new contract is thoroughly deserved.”
Spies, a triple AMA Superbike champion who made his MotoGP debut as a wild-card with Rizla Suzuki last season, trails Ducati's Noriyuki Haga by just three points with two rounds and four races remaining in the 2009 WSBK season. 2009 is the Texan's first full year of world championship racing.