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Spies Leaving Yamaha MotoGP Team Next Year

In an email published on the SuperbikePlanet website, Ben Spies says that he has decided for “a litany of reasons” to leave the Yamaha MotoGP team at the end of this season.  He said he will provide more information at the time of the official announcement.

Spies has had a horrendous year on the factory Yamaha team.  While teammate Jorge Lorenzo leads the championship, Spies has left a trail of DNFs and sub-par performances, frequently bested by Yamaha satellite riders Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow.  No one is quite sure what has happened to Spies this year, but he has definitely fallen off from the standard he set as WSB champ, MotoGP rookie of the year and MotoGP race winner.

47 Comments

  1. Norm G. says:

    i think the next announcement will be rossi leaves ducati. where he goes is really neither here nor there. at this moment, rossi and “ducaudi” have diverging objectives. audi has a business to run (cars/bikes to sell) and vale has the records books and his legacy to tend to. while it would be nice, one doesn’t necessarily compliment the other.

  2. mickey says:

    Just announced Nicky re signs with Duc. Since they previously announced they weren’t going to renew his contract for 2013, does that indicate Rossi is going with Honda or Yamaha?

    Btw Spies was 4th behind the aliens in free practice 1 at Laguna

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “Since they previously announced they weren’t going to renew his contract for 2013″

      what they said was, a decision on nicky wouldn’t come until the buyout was a completed. and as i said, cal’s offer from ducati (if not on paper) wasn’t going to be good for anything but wiping his ass. AUDI’s the one signing the checks now and relative to nicky they don’t know crutch from a hole in the wall. tie goes to the runner… or in this case hayden.

      • Norm G. says:

        PS: or at least they don’t know from crutchlow… YET…? unlike rossi, it’s gonna take time before they’re up to speed on who all the players are and what they can contribute (if any) to any strategies going forward.

  3. Provalogna says:

    It’s really too bad the way the entire planet earth and all its inhabitants personally prevented Ben from achieving the stardom he richly deserves. (sarc/off)

    Two days ago Ben Tweeted his intention to fashion model soon, where the world won’t stand in his way as in MotoGP. Very sexy, no?

  4. HotDog says:

    I told you earlier that this was coming. Spies can’t cut bait and still fish with the big boys. He may have all of the natural talent in the world but if his head isn’t in it, it’s over. Betcha Jarvis and the boys were laughing and scratching when they heard this, whilst the corks flew at the Yamaha offices. And in this corner Dovi, staring across the ring to his worthy opponent “Cal the Crutch”. Let’s get ready and rumble!!!

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “I told you earlier that this was coming. Spies can’t cut bait and still fish with the big boys.”

      and what of stoner, you made no mention of him. same deal then…?

      • Scotty says:

        2 MotoGP titles says, no…not the same deal. Not to mention winning on the “unrideable” Ducati.

        • Norm G. says:

          re: “2 MotoGP titles says, no…not the same deal. Not to mention winning on the “unrideable” Ducati.”

          but wait, that ain’t 3 titles…? and it’s a whopping 7 off of rossi. so even though in his prime, clearly the kid can’t hack it right…? so goeth the logic…?

          • Scotty says:

            Not really – I respect and admire any rider that gets a world title – no matter what class of GP racing. Its the pinnacle. I don’t consider Rossi a lesser rider for not winning the TT either. Of for winning far less 500cc titles than Mick Doohan.

  5. Gary says:

    You guys are WAY overthinking this. Is it politics? A European conspiracy to cheat Americans? Nope. None of that. Ben is not winning races. He is not even making the podium. He is being beaten routinely by guys on satellite teams. And most damning of all … another guy is leading in points on an identical bike. It’s dollars and cents. Factory teams hire riders who win. Period.

  6. Brian says:

    Sounds like he is sick of the GP politics. The rookie rule reversal was the last straw. I feel bad for Stephan Bradl. he is riding the way Dovi rode his rookie year and earned the Repsol ride the next year. He is the one who really got screwed. I only hope Ben doesnt go back to AMA. I would rather he show the real potential of the Beemer in SBK. Sounds like a Gresini ride is out for him as he is “sick of it” according to superbikeplanet.

  7. chris says:

    I just can’t see any reason to stay in motogp, he has the best bike and can’t do anything with it, so staying around on a lesser bike will just mean worse results
    not everyone can cut it in motogp,

  8. Mark Pearson says:

    Are injuries the issue?

  9. kirk66 says:

    Schwantz managed team is the only way Spies stays in GP. MORE likely scenario: Jordan owned/Schawntz managed Suzuki WSBK team. Why? $$. Just because Suzuki may be ready to re-enter GP with a built bike doesn’t mean they will have the funding to pull it off for a season of racing. However, I can certainly see the likelihood of NIKE/Jordan/Schwantz/Ben and Tom running a WSBK effort. It would allow Jordan to operate the AMA squad as a feeder to his WBK team. Downside to that is Bostrom would be odd man out on the AMA team because RL is so consistant. BUT it sure would make Martin an inticing choice for a two bike WSBK squad- wouldn’t it?

  10. Provalogna says:

    Ditto. With the EU in full-chaos mode German exports are at high risk. There’s a litany of negative German business issues, the latest being two Deutsche Bank employees facing arrest for LIBOR-rigging crimes. The world de-leveraging era is immune to Keynsian economic theory no matter the strength and constancy.

    BMW is highly disinterested in spending the necessary funds to enter MotoGP.

    Related to de-leveraging, Honda started the latest/greatest trend with their class-leading (by epic margin) new fuel injected/liquid cooled 250cc motor (2012 CBR250R, 2013 CRF250L). Compared to the CRF250L at about $4500, Yamaha’s bike in that class costs $5100. Generally, +12% higher cost spells failure. In this class it’s death, especially because Yamaha’s technology is from the stone age and in every feature and specification it is an anachronism.

    • Dave says:

      “Related to de-leveraging, Honda started the latest/greatest trend with their class-leading (by epic margin) new fuel injected/liquid cooled 250cc motor (2012 CBR250R, 2013 CRF250L). Compared to the CRF250L at about $4500, Yamaha’s bike in that class costs $5100. Generally, +12% higher cost spells failure. In this class it’s death, especially because Yamaha’s technology is from the stone age and in every feature and specification it is an anachronism. ”

      Good point but Yamaha’s and Honda’s 250cc dual sport bikes are not the same class of motorcycle. Yamaha’s is a true off road bike with lights, Honda’s is a budget oriented runabout with offroad styling. Honda will sell many times more units of it but it probably won’t have a large effect on Yamaha’s WR sales if that bike is selling to the correct customer for it already.

  11. Buelligan says:

    I heard a “rumor” he was thinking of signing on with EBR…

  12. mickey says:

    Hmmm…I refer back to my last comment on the Honda/Rossi discussion of July 23

    I’m starting to look like a psychic eh Norm?

  13. Provalogna says:

    The article mentions Spies’ WSB Championship in relation to his current MotoGP also-ran standing. An appropriate context may be to compare the speeds and level of competition in the former to the latter: Max Biaggi was a perennial also-ran in MotoGP, similar to Spies current predicament. He became WSB Champion quickly after he demoted to that slower class.

    The following is my own speculation: Spies is less comfortable with MotoGP speeds (and close competition at those speeds) than he was with the slower production-based classes where he won championships. I was never a Spies fan.

    • Dave says:

      Spies has won races and finished top-10 in the series every season he’s raced it. He Q’d 4th at Laguna Seca. He is absoutley not an “also-ran”. If he is “uncomfortable” or incapable of racing at this level then they need to stop racing these bikes all together because there are too few people capable of it to make an interesting field. Actually, that’s probably true anyway.

      Though not mentioned in these comments I thought there were lots of bikes being wadded despite the opinion that the electronics have made it “too easy”.

  14. ReflexTowing says:

    There is more interest in the seat swapping frenzy than there is on the actual Laguna Seca Grand Prix!

    I believe Ben will tear it up for the remainder of the season without so much pressure on him.

    Lastly, there is a Superbike Planet article saying Ben could possibly retire from racing altogether:

    http://www.superbikeplanet.com/2012/Jul/120724-11a.htm

    I follow him on twitter and he goes on and on about bicycling this, and hamburger restaurant that… not inconceivable.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “Lastly, there is a Superbike Planet article saying Ben could possibly retire from racing altogether”

      don’t see that happening. see it for stoner, but not him. spies said he was in discussion with his sponsors and they had his back. if retiring was in fact his goal…? there’d be nothing to discuss. they could all pound sand along with the rest of us.

      btw, where’s that burger joint…? he got big kahuna burger’s there…? :) i’ll stop in and drop some cash. no worries about me closing the loop, the economic cycle is understood.

      • HotDog says:

        If Yamaha had the balls, they’d give Spies another tatto on the other leg with the thumbs pointed downward. Hocus pocus alakazm, here’s to witchcraft…!

  15. Jason says:

    So if Factory Yamaha picks up Dovisioso and Ducati picks up Cruthlow, the satellite Yamaha team will have two openings? I don’t see Rossi going there because he will look bad compared to Lorenzo. Maybe Hayden has a chance to switch to the satellite Yamaha team? Who will the other spot go to?

    • Brian says:

      Unfortunately tech 3 signed Bradley Smith already. Horrible choice. They are going from power house to has been in one season with that blunder.

  16. John says:

    World SBK is the best motorcycle racing series. Ben’s references to going back could mean many things, and will be the point of speculation for the next few months. BMW factory team pulling out of SBK could fortell a move to MotoGP. Haven’t heard Melandri stories, so there has to be something out there for him as well.

    Spies and Marco on factory BMW GP bikes. Doubtful. My money is on SBK with a suzuki. They are worse than kawasaki right now.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “BMW factory team pulling out of SBK could fortell a move to MotoGP.”

      unfortunately, the only thing it foretells is that BMW has the shrewdest accountants to ever flip a deutsche mark.

    • TomS says:

      Kawasaki is actually doing well in SBK at the moment.

    • Gutterslob says:

      re: “My money is on SBK with a suzuki”

      My money’s on him entering next year’s Giro d’Italia and Tour de France.

  17. Vrooom says:

    Let’s face it, Ben didn’t perform this year. The last race of last season he nearly got a win before being passed by Stoner on the last lap. He hasn’t had that kind of performance all year this year. Hope he lands on a satellite team. Obviously Crutchlow and Dovi have shown you can podium on those bikes.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “Let’s face it, Ben didn’t perform this year.”

      Let’s face it, pots of gold don’t exist at the end of rainbows and Yamaha’s been operating 2 years at the grandprix level without main sponsor cash.

  18. monsterduc1000 says:

    That’s too bad. I was hoping spies would be a contender.

    This is the premiere class, but it definitely not the best class to watch. WSB is so much more exciting than this with so many different manufacturers fighting for wins and positions. It’s great to see, on certain occasions, five different teams fightingh for the top five positions.

  19. kman says:

    Won’t it be great in 2013 when we might have three MotoGP rounds in the US and zero riders..

  20. Brian says:

    What a load of bollocks,Nicky?, Casey?, Cal?? Lets rather wait and hear from Ben what the real issue was. (…haven’t seen much of mum Mary in the pits this year..?)

  21. TomS says:

    I hope Ben lands in a good place, either within MotoGP or another series. I’ve been puzzled by his performance this year – up to this point he had been doing some major ass-kicking and I think he is truly talented.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “I’ve been puzzled by his performance this year – up to this point he had been doing some major ass-kicking and I think he is truly talented.”

      exactly, so this should be everyone’s first clue that something’s amiss EXTERNAL to spies, and not with spies himself. there’s a reason it’s called “MOTORsport” and not just “sport”. we ain’t running foot races inside an olympic stadium.

  22. Tom says:

    @bikerrandy : To be more specific, you have to be of spanish or italian origin to easily get a seat in a MotoGP-factory team.
    Being german, I would be happy to see Ben at BMW in WorldSBK next year together with Marco Melandri, maybe repeating what he did in 2009 … :-)

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “I would be happy to see Ben at BMW in WorldSBK next year together with Marco Melandri, maybe repeating what he did in 2009″

      NOOOOO…!!! i sure hope not. this would be outta the pan and into the proverbial fire. at least at yamaha (having won them their 1st sbk title) there was a “slight” chance he might be able to get a word in edgewise….? under the new axis alliance “all italian all the time” BMW squad, his chances of getting a word in edgewise reduces to ZERO…!!! :(

      re: “maybe repeating what he did in 2009″

      not an option. see entry above.

  23. Rossi46 says:

    So Ben is leaving and now there is a empty seat. What a bummer, I’m going to hate to see him go. Are we going to see 46 on a Yamaha again? I really hope so. Rossi needs to get off the Ducati and get on a winning machine. I know Rossi is still a winner. Come on Vale GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  24. bikerrandy says:

    Moto GP is more nationalism than racing. It comes out of Europe and if you aren’t a Euro racer there, good luck on being treated like an equal rider no matter your country of origin. Ben has had enough !!!

    • lol says:

      Yeah, right, the teams are going to favor, say a Hungarian or a Portuguese over an American? Top teams are going to want (top) an Italian or a Spaniard and they have got them. For the other bike an American will have an advantage. Spies has had all the opportunities he needed. For some reason it didn’t work out with the factory bike and hopefully we’ll learn why.

    • soi cowboy says:

      same raw deal Colin E and Hayden got. At least Spies had the sense to bail after a year.

    • Gary says:

      Dude … That’s crap. If Ben were winning I guarantee he’d have a ride. He’s not so he doesn’t. The fact that he is American has zero to do with it. I hope Ben stays in MotoGP, but I suspect he’s headed back to WSB.

    • Provalogna says:

      Typical pathetic excuses from the Spies sycophant troupe.