As the MotoGP World Championship heads to his home turf at Laguna Seca, California this weekend, Factory Yamaha’s Ben Spies dropped a bombshell by stating that he has chosen to leave Yamaha at the end of 2012 for many reasons.
While no official announcement has been made of Spies’ departure, the Texan started to create a stir on Twitter yesterday by tweeting “You can say next year will be a bit diff I’d say. Excited at all prospects stay tuned.” He then went onto tweet, “I thought I’d be dramatic like all the sites and reporters are haha maybe nothing changes except to be back were we are meant to be!”
A story released in Superbike Planet today shared an email from Spies, where he further commented on his departure:
Yesterday I made a comment on Twitter to cause a stir. (Today) I’ll be more in saying that I have chosen to leave Yamaha after this season for a litany of reasons. I will explain more when I feel it is appropriate. I’m discussing my situation with my sponsors and they are behind me. There are a few people at Yamaha who I hate to leave. And they know who they are. I wish Yamaha the best. I won’t make any further comments until the offical announcement comes out.
Spies, who rocketed to success with Yamaha in 2009 by winning the World Superbike Championship during his rookie season, quickly moved up to MotoGP where he has enjoyed some successful years with Yamaha. While the talented American rider once looked to be on pace to eventually take the MotoGP title, he has struggled this season and currently sits in 10th place in the overall standings with only 66 points heading into this weekend’s race at Laguna Seca.
Meanwhile, it is expected that Spies will continue to put in a solid effort for the remainder of the 2012 season, with Laguna Seca being familiar ground as he has been a three-time AMA Superbike race winner there, and finished a resptable 4th place at the MotoGP event in 2011. According to Spies, “It’s always special racing in front of your home crowd. It’s been a pretty rough season so far but we’ll see if we can turn it round here, put on a good show for all my fans and change it up for the second half of the year. We had some great results here before in AMA and not so bad on my first two MotoGP visits. It’s going to be great to see some old faces around the track over the weekend too.”
Spies departure from the Factory Yamaha racing squad at the end of this season leaves the door wide open for a teammate to Jorge Lorenzo, who has already re-signed with the team for 2013. A short list of potential candidates is rumoured to include current Yamaha satellite riders Andrea Dovizioso, Cal Crutchlow and Ducati’s Valentino Rossi.