Ben Spies has signed a one-year extension to his Factory Yamaha MotoGP contract, meaning he will continue to ride alongside Jorge Lorenzo for the first year of 1000cc racing, in 2012.

"I am very happy to say that I will remain a part of the Yamaha family," said Spies, "and that I will continue in the MotoGP series for 2012. This is a privileged time of my career riding for the most successful team in recent years at the very highest racing level.

"Yamaha has been great in supporting me through World Superbike and on to MotoGP and I want to thank them for all they have done, and for giving me their trust to continue in MotoGP in 2012. I especially would like to say thank you to Lin Jarvis and Masahiko Nakajima for their support."

After a tough start to the season, including two DNFs, Spies took his first podium of the season last Sunday in Catalunya and is now up to seventh in the standings.

"We are obviously delighted to announce the continuation of our partnership with Ben for the 2012 season and we hope that he will remain at Yamaha for many years to come," stated Lin Jarvis, Managing Director of Yamaha Motor Racing.

"Ben has shown his ability to successfully compete at the highest level; firstly by becoming Yamaha's first World Superbike champion in 2009 and then attaining the status of Best Rookie in 2010 with the Tech3 Yamaha Team.

"His transition to the Yamaha Factory Racing team in 2011 has just begun and we have every confidence in Ben's abilities and high potential for the future. This timely decision now allows us to concentrate on the present
championship and, in parallel, to prepare for our 2012 MotoGP program with the change to the 1000cc bikes."

World champion and 2011 points leader Lorenzo is also signed until the end of 2012.

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