Former World Superbike champion Ben Spies has revealed that the excitement of closing his 2009 deal with Yamaha was almost too much for team manager Massimo Meregalli.
Spies, who had just won his third successive AMA Superbike title for Suzuki, looked set for a full-time 2009 MotoGP ride after finishing sixth as a wild-card for Rizla Suzuki at Indianapolis.
But a MotoGP deal was never done and instead Yamaha was able to tempt the Texan away from Suzuki and into WSBK.
It was an inspired move and Meregalli's excitement certainly proved justified, with Spies going on to win 14 races and Yamaha's first ever WSBK title in his rookie season.
“When I flew over to sign for Yamaha World Superbike [for 2009], I thought team manager Massimo Meregalli was going to faint!” Spies told the official Yamaha Indonesia website at the recent Jerez MotoGP round.
“He was so excited about the possibility to work with me. It was an honour to give him the championship.”
The WSBK success enabled Spies to land a Tech 3 Yamaha MotoGP seat for 2010, and then a full factory M1 ride for 2011 - where he has once again teamed up with Meregalli, who became team director of the Factory Yamaha outfit this season.