The move, which will see Spies ride a third Rizla Suzuki GSV-R alongside regulars Chris Vermeulen and Loris Capirossi, has been long rumoured and marks the first step towards the American's planned graduation to grand prix racing in 2009.

Spies had been due to ride an 800cc GSV-R for the first time at Sepang last October, the day after the Malaysian Grand Prix, but the outing was called off due to heavy rain.

Spies eventually made his 800cc debut during a 'press and guest' day immediately after last November's Valencia season finale, where unofficial lap times suggested a highly creditable performance.

Of all the events on the MotoGP calendar, the two American rounds offer the best opportunity for Spies to showcase his talents. Spies knows Laguna Seca well from AMA competition, whilst the inaugural Indianapolis MotoGP will take place on a brand new circuit.

Spies, who has a spectacular 'elbows out' riding style similar to John Hopkins, has the support of Suzuki's former 500cc world champion Kevin Schwantz.

Schwantz has been linked to a team management role with Spies if a third GSV-R is made available next season, possibly run by the Aspar team, although if Suzuki is unable to provide a GP opportunity Spies could well 'shop around' for a seat with another manufacturer.