Spies to race 2010 MotoGP season

Texas phenom swaps seats with James Toseland

By Motorcycle.Com Staff, Oct. 01, 2009
Ben Spies will race for the Tech 3 Yamaha team in the 2010 MotoGP championship.

Spies, who currently sits second in the World Superbike Championship standings, recently signed a two-year contract extension with Yamaha to race in the 2010 WSBK season before moving to MotoGP in 2011. After some consideration, Spies approached Yamaha about making the change earlier than planned.

“Following the announcement of Ben’s two year deal with Yamaha one month ago, he has reassessed his options and decided that he would like to move to MotoGP sooner rather than later,” says Lin Jarvis, managing director of Yamaha Motor Racing. “Yamaha has considered his request and together with Tech 3 we were able to find a way to make it happen. Ben has done a fantastic job in his rookie season in World Superbike and we are very excited to now be welcoming him into our MotoGP program sooner than we originally expected. We believe that Ben will be a fast learner next season and a strong future championship contender. We look forward to working with him in the years ahead.”

Ben Spies will join Colin Edwards for an all-Texan Tech 3 Yamaha team for the 2010 MotoGP season.

Yamaha’s willingness to grant the request shows how much they value Spies. In just his first WSBK season, Spies has 12 wins in 24 races, with nine pole positions in 12 rounds. Most of Spies’ success was achieved on circuits he had never visited before.

“I want to thank Yamaha globally for their faith in me,” says Spies. “They have treated me like royalty! Yamaha just recently allowed me to rethink my contract for 2010-2011; I did sign for WSB for 2010 but after Indy I began thinking of the competition and my age versus waiting until 2011. This was not an easy decision, the Yamaha World Superbike Team crew and especially Massimo (Maio) Meregalli have been fantastic and it’s been great fun to put in a season together.”

Spies’ crew chief Tom Houseworth and mechanic Gregory Wood, who both came with Spies to the WSBK paddock from AMA racing, will also accompany the Texan to Tech 3 Yamaha.

“Herve Poncharal at Tech 3 is showing his support by allowing me to come on board with my Crew Chief Tom Houseworth and Gregory Wood, my mechanic, who have both been with me since AMA days,” says Spies. “We will have learning curves to overcome next year but I am up for the new goal. I hope to have a good year and my goal is to try and stay in the top 6-8 which, given the talented line up, will be a tall order. With the world upside down, there is one constant for me and that’s Yamaha.”

Spies will join fellow American Colin Edwards on Tech 3 Yamaha for an all-Texan team.

Taking Spies’ place on Yamaha’s World Superbike team is current Tech 3 Yamaha racer James Toseland. The former WSBK champion will partner with current Yamaha World Supersport rider Cal Crutchlow to form an all-British rider pairing.

James Toseland will swap seats with Ben Spies, joining Yamaha's WSBK team for 2010.

“I’m looking forward to return to World Superbikes,” says James Toseland. “I want to show I’m still the rider that can win world titles. Of course there is some disappointment at losing my opportunity in MotoGP as I believe the challenge was still achievable, but the R1 has proven to be beyond the strongest bikes in Superbike and I know many of the Yamaha World Superbike Team guys, so I’m going to pick up where I left off and give 100% to achieving good results with the team. Within Superbike there were a few options available to me, however the way Yamaha have treated me since I joined them has been outstanding. They gave me a great opportunity in MotoGP, but now I do wish Ben all the best in his campaign and my aim is to continue Yamaha’s success in World Superbike.”

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