MotoGP »

Ben Spies: Why I left Yamaha

“That was the moment when I decided I wasn't going to ride for Yamaha in 2013” - Ben Spies
Ben Spies has explained what triggered his shock decision to leave the Factory Yamaha MotoGP team.

Spies had been a Yamaha rider since switching from the AMA to WSBK - with instant title success - in 2009 and won his first MotoGP race during a successful 2011 debut season at Yamaha's official grand prix team.

2012 saw a relentless run of incidents, accidents and bad luck - but it was still a major surprise when Spies announced, halfway through the season and via the internet, that he would not ride for the team in 2013.

The Texan subsequently revealed behind the scenes tension and has now confirmed that comments made at Mugello by a 'senior Yamaha employee' were behind his decision to walk away from the title winning M1.

"I had food poisoning at Mugello [the Italian Grand Prix]. Bad food poisoning. I shouldn't even have started the race. I got sick in my helmet, and afterward, I was dry-heaving and shaking uncontrollably," Spies told CycleWorld.com.

"Yamaha stayed in Italy and tested the next day, but I didn't ride. I couldn't ride. I couldn't move. I couldn't do anything.

"A senior Yamaha employee - that's as specific as I'm going to get - said to me, 'We've invested a lot of money in you. Don't come to Laguna Seca if you aren't 100 percent.'

"Then, he added, 'We've lost confidence in you.'

"That was the moment when I decided I wasn't going to ride for Yamaha in 2013.

"I have a lot of good friends at Yamaha, but when someone talks down to you like that, you lose respect for them."

Spies - whose place alongside Jorge Lorenzo has since been taken by Valentino Rossi - admitted that he seriously considered a return to WSBK, with BMW, but ultimately decided to stay in MotoGP.

Despite interest from Honda, the #11 will ride for the satellite Pramac Ducati team, where he will have "factory bikes, factory everything".

"The Yamaha is a great bike, but it likes a lot of corner speed," Spies said of the M1. "If it moves, if the wheels get out of line, it gets upset.

"Both the Honda and the Ducati look like they can be ridden a little more 'wild'."

Having been denied the chance to make his Ducati debut at the Valencia test due to a season-ending shoulder injury at the Malaysian GP, Spies will ride a Desmosedici for the first time at the Sepang test in early February.




Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Spies, Meregalli, British MotoGP 2012
Jorge Martin, German Red Bull Rookies MotoGP Cup Race 2014
Louis Rossi, German Moto2 Race 2014
Louis Rossi, German Moto2 Race 2014
Louis Rossi, German Moto2 Race 2014
Louis Rossi, German Moto2 Race 2014
Lorenzo, German MotoGP Race 2014
Lorenzo, German MotoGP Race 2014
Lorenzo, German MotoGP Race 2014
Lorenzo, German MotoGP Race 2014
Lorenzo, German MotoGP Race 2014
Lorenzo, German MotoGP Race 2014
Lorenzo, Iannone, German MotoGP Race 2014
Lorenzo, German MotoGP Race 2014
Lorenzo, German MotoGP 2014
Lorenzo, German MotoGP 2014
Lorenzo, German MotoGP 2014
Rossi, German MotoGP 2014

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.




© 1999 - 2014 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.