Ben Spies will ride for Monster Yamaha Tech 3 in MotoGP next year following an announcement on the eve of this weekend’s bwin.com Grande Premio de Portugal. Spies is set to form an all-American line-up with the vastly experienced Colin Edwards who has also been confirmed for Herve Poncharal’s Tech 3 team next season.
25-year-old Spies joins the Tech 3 squad with excellent credentials having enjoyed success on board Yamaha machinery in the WSB championship this year, and having won three consecutive U.S. AMA Superbike championships from 2006-08 with Suzuki. He also made three successful MotoGP guest appearances in 2008, including one at the first ever Indianapolis MotoGP race in which he finished sixth.
Meanwhile, Edwards has agreed a new one-year contract with Tech 3 after producing some of the best form of his MotoGP career in 2009, including a superb second place in a difficult race at the British Grand Prix at Donington Park. The 35 year-old former team-mate of Valentino Rossi has featured in the top seven in ten out of 13 races so far and is still firmly in contention for a top five standings finish. Next year will be his third with Tech 3.
Spies stated, “I want to thank Yamaha globally for their faith in me. 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 Indianapolis I began thinking of the competition and my age, versus waiting until 2011.”
“Now I have two challenges, to complete this year giving my best and to move towards new goals in MotoGP. 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 my AMA days. 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.”
Lin Jarvis, Managing Director of Yamaha Motor Racing, added “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. 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.”