Ben Spies has spoken of his delight at being confirmed as moving to MotoGP in 2010, one year earlier than previously anticipated, after revealing he couldn't wait until 2011 to make his full-time debut.
Yamaha had originally announced last month that it 'foresaw' Spies as remaining in the World Superbike Championship next season ahead of a proposed jump to MotoGP in 2011 with the satellite Tech 3 team.
Despite this, Spies' desire to make the switch as soon as possible has seen the contract amended in recent weeks to enable him to graduate to the premier motorcycling class earlier than planned.
“I want to thank Yamaha globally for their faith in me,” the American said. “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.”
Accepting it as a new challenge for his burgeoning career, Spies has set himself the target of finishing inside the top eight in his maiden season.
“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.”
In the meantime, though, Spies insists he will continue to concentrate on the 2009 World Superbike title before turning his attentions to MotoGP.
"My thanks also extend to 'Infront', the promoter of the WSB series, especially Paolo Ciabatti," Spies, who is three points behind leader Noriyuki Haga with three rounds remaining, said. "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.