Tech 3 boss Herve Poncharal has reassured Ben Spies fans that the American will get strong support from Yamaha in MotoGP next season - but is unable to confirm how similar the World Superbike star's YZR-M1 will be to the machines of factory team riders Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo.
Spies, fighting to win Yamaha's first ever WSBK title at his very first attempt, has signed to ride alongside fellow Texan Colin Edwards at Yamaha's satellite MotoGP team next season - in place of James Toseland.
“You know I have always been very proud because two years ago we were with Masao Furusawa [Yamaha racing boss] and he was asked by some journalists 'you have two good teams this year; a good factory team and a good satellite team' and he said 'no, we have four factory riders and four factory bikes'. I was proud of that,” replied Poncharal, when asked about the level of factory support for Spies.
“The last few seasons we have been quite regularly close to the front and, at the end of the day, the engines are sealed - with the new rules - so I have not had the chance to check Valentino's engine, Jorge's engine and my engines. Also, Ben has a [two-year] contract with Yamaha Japan directly and not with Tech 3.
“I think Yamaha will give us really good support, but in details I can't answer you more than that. I am sure Ben will have really good support, the same as Colin and the same as James this year,” concluded Poncharal.
Spies, a triple AMA Superbike champion, will start the Portimao WSBK season finale 10 points behind Ducati's Noriyuki Haga.
The 25-year-old - who rode in three grands prix for Rizla Suzuki last season, claiming a best finish of sixth - will then make his Yamaha MotoGP debut as a wild-card at the Valencia season finale.
Spies will take his crew chief Tom Houseworth and mechanic Gregory Wood, who have both been with him since his AMA days, to Tech 3 next season.