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.