Spies To Announce MotoGP Switch Tomorrow?

The Spies Saga continues to rumble on. Despite the official announcement by Yamaha that Ben Spies will be racing in World Superbikes next season, rumors persist that the Texan will be riding a Tech 3 Yamaha alongside Colin Edwards in 2010. The persistently half-hearted denials by Yamaha, Spies and his mother and manager Mary serve merely to fan the flames, rather than deliver a decisive verdict on which Spies will be riding in next season. A typical example of this equivocation is below, in the interview posted by the excellent On The Throttle TV website, in which World Superbike commentator Jonathon Green asks Ben Spies about a possible switch to MotoGP, and Spies replies that he is "not at liberty to say what's going on right now," which is about as far from an outright denial as it is possible to get.

So convinced was the leading Italian magazine MotoSprint that Spies is going to MotoGP, that they ran a story on the website that an announcement on the move would be announced directly after Sunday's race at Imola. Sunday came and went, and the announcement never came, and so the story was pulled, but thanks to Google's voracious recording of everything that appears on the internet, the story is still visible through Google's search cache.

MotoSprint may not have been that far off the mark. Spies losing the championship lead to Nori Haga may have caused Yamaha to regroup and postpone the announcement. But the leading British racing website BikeSport News is convinced that the announcement will come, and is reporting that it will be made official on Tuesday. According to BikeSport News, Spies will do a straight swap with James Toseland, the Briton being moved into the Sterilgarda Yamaha team to partner Cal Crutchlow, who it is widely believed will move up to the World Superbike class if he manages to clinch the World Supersport title - something he could have come close to this weekend if he hadn't crashed out of the lead.

Ben Spies' arrival in MotoGP seems merely a matter of time. And given the breadth of sources reporting that he will move up to the class a year earlier than planned, the rumors appear to have a great deal of credibility to them. Which makes Yamaha's coyness on the issue frankly rather mystifying. At some point in time, they will have to make a definitive announcement. Might as well make it now. 

Ben Spies interview from On The Throttle TV:


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Spies departures is a shame. At first I was somewhat excited about his prospect in MotoGP, but now I'm unconvinced that he is making the right decision when riders like Vermeulen and Toseland will likely be heading back to WSBK. Aprilia are upping their support for 2010 by adding another team, and rumors keep linking Bayliss to another return as well. WSBK is the place to be right now. GP teams are spending massive amounts of money to put on a relatively boring show, and most of the teams do not have competitive machinery.

The rumors linking Rossi to Ducati indicate that the Italian is open to change for 2011. His comments about the 800cc formula being the biggest mistake in 15 years also indicate that he is angry at the MSMA. It will be interesting to see what kind of an offer he gets from InFront when his contract expires for 2011.

While there are a lot of fans enjoying WSBK, MotoGP is still the big show - by a huge margin. Rossi craves the attention of massive audiences that only MotoGP can provide. Aside from that, Rossi craves competition and he simply wouldn't have it in WSBK.

You'll never see Rossi swithc to WSBK. He might run a race or two but it would take MotoGP completley collapsing before that happens and despite the issues, MotoGP still has the money to sustain itself.

Good points there Rats...

However, I think Simoncelli might have a few good words about WSB for Rossi (who was without doubt there at the track for the weekend). And I'm sure he'd love to beat Spies in Spies backyard before he beats him in _his own_ backyard : )

I agree that it would be great to see Spies remain in WSB to face the challenges that 2010 will bring - Ten Kate will be right up to speed on the CBR1000RR, the R1 will be completely sorted (I think it's only as good as Spies makes it look this year), Haga will be totally keyed into the Duc and Fabrizio is well and truly on the way to the top, and then there's Aprilia and (cough) BMW... and that's not even mentioning the talent flooding in from MotoGP and domestic series.

Compared to this, MotoGP is just going to be more of the same; lets hope that Spies, Bautista and Simoncelli can liven up proceedings a bit, but if they do it's likely to occur somewhere around the battle for 5th.

I would agree that the MotoGP newcomers are likely to be battling for 5th but that is a step above where the riders leaving MotoGP for WSBK have been battling. I'm really not trying to be harsh on WSBK as I am a fan but even with all the new bikes starting to get sorted, it has always been Ducati's series. Maybe the bias toward the Italian factory will extend to another Italian factory for a while but I expect Ducati to return to the top as they always do.

It just sort of feel like there is a perception that WSBK is somehow more pure and I just can't see it that way. Yes, it is cheaper but is cheaper really the measure of a series?

This isn't even a question. Ask any racer on the planet where they want to be and they will tell you MotoGP. Yes it is a living nightmare, the rules are constantly being massaged, the money spent on the bikes is insane and the guys outside the top 5 factory seats don't make a whole lot of cash or get a lot of TV time. But at the end of the day MotoGP is the pinnacle! Why else would some of the recently orphaned MotoGP riders offer to ride for free?

Spies has unequivocally shown that he is ready to make the jump this season. Setting records (although Doug Polen's single season win record is now out of reach) along the way. This past weekend was one of his worst and he still managed to salvage a 4th and a 5th out of the deal. Thats what it takes at this level. To get every possible point you can every time you are on the bike, no excuses!