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Oct 1, 2008

It's Official: Spies Will Race For Yamaha's World Superbike Team In 2009

American racing sensation Ben Spies has signed up to the Yamaha factory World Superbike Team to partner 23 yr old British rider Tom Sykes for the 2009 season. The 24yr old American rider from Dallas is fresh from a record third championship win in a row, taking the AMA Superbike Championship crown again for 2008. Spies is only the fourth rider in the history of AMA Superbike to win three consecutive titles and 3rd on the all-time AMA Superbike wins list with a total of 28 AMA Superbike wins. This now completes the Yamaha World Superbike team for 2009.

Spies has been racing and winning in the AMA Superbike Championship since 2005, and has an unrivalled 90% podium finish rate for racing, the highest for any AMA rider in the history of the championship. He took second place in his rookie year followed by the three successive championship wins. Prior to this he had a three year stint in the AMA Supersport Championship,. Spies turned pro in 2000, racing in the AMA Superstock Championship for two years before joining AMA Supersport in 2002.

Spies has also ridden in MotoGP in 2008, starting in place of injured Loris Capirossi at the British GP, finishing 14th place scoring his first MotoGP points. He had a further 2 wildcard outings, achieving 8th at Laguna Seca and an even more impressive 6th at Indianapolis.

"I'm very excited about joining Yamaha in World Superbike," Spies said. "This is a positive step for the direction of my career. I'll have a great opportunity to race on many of the top road racing circuits in the world. Riding with a company as passionate about racing as Yamaha is going to put me in a good position to contest for a world championship right from the start."

"Superbike racing originated in America, but it's been a while since we've had an American world champion. There's a great tradition of American riders in World Superbike and I hope to put my name alongside great champions like Fred Merkel, Doug Polen, Scott Russell, John Kocinski and Colin Edwards. "

"After considering my offers it became obvious to me that Yamaha would be a great home. Yamaha was excited about the possibility of me joining them and they just made me feel like I was coming into a great family. You look at how Yamaha treats its riders and how, even after their careers are over, they're always part of the Yamaha family. That was really important to me. I'm looking forward to the challenge at hand and to work with Yamaha to produce a winning team and ultimately a World Superbike Championship."

Massimo Meregalli (Yamaha's factory Superbike Team Manager) "We're really enthusiastic to have signed Ben Spies for the 2009 team. He's proved to be a very skilful and successful rider in AMA Superbike, he has been one of the riders we have followed closely this year. We are sure he will be a great combination with Tom Sykes, the team are looking forward to starting with them both next year. There will be a lot to learn with new circuits and new bikes but we also have new motivation as a fresh team and will give 200% to help the riders win in 2009. "

"We're very excited to have Ben join the team" said Yamaha Motor Europe Racing Division Manager Laurens Klein Koerkamp. "He's proved to be a top rider with his AMA titles and recent rides in MotoGP, we believe he's got a long future ahead of him at the highest levels in motorcycle racing."




More, from a press release issued by FGSport Group:

American racing sensation Ben Spies joins Yamaha for 2009 World Superbike season

Rome (Italy), Wednesday 1 October 2008: Triple AMA Champion Ben Spies will partner Britain's Tom Sykes in an all-new line up for Yamaha's official World Superbike effort in 2009. The 24-year-old American rider from Dallas, Texas, is only the fourth rider in the history of AMA Superbike racing to win three consecutive titles, and his ambition now takes him onto the global stage.

"I'm very excited about joining Yamaha in World Superbike," said Spies shortly after the end of the 2008 AMA season. "This is a positive step for the direction of my career. I'll have a great opportunity to race on many of the top road racing circuits in the world. Riding with a company as passionate about racing as Yamaha is going to put me in a good position to contest for a world championship right from the start."

Spies is well aware of the winning American heritage that underpins World Superbike history, and hopes to add his own chapter soon. "Superbike racing originated in America, but it's been a while since we've had an American world champion. There's a great tradition of American riders in World Superbike and I hope to put my name alongside great champions like Fred Merkel, Doug Polen, Scott Russell, John Kocinski and Colin Edwards."

Spies has been racing and winning in the AMA Superbike Championship since 2005, and has an unrivalled 90% podium finish rate for racing, the highest for any AMA rider in the history of the championship. He took second place in his rookie year followed by the three successive championship wins. Prior to this he had a three year stint in the AMA Supersport Championship,. Spies turned pro in 2000, racing in the AMA Superstock Championship for two years before joining AMA Supersport in 2002. Spies has also ridden in MotoGP in 2008, starting in place of injured Loris Capirossi at the British GP, finishing 14th place scoring his first MotoGP points. He had a further 2 wildcard outings, achieving 8th at Laguna Seca and an even more impressive 6th at Indianapolis.

Spies signing for Yamaha World Superbike is the latest in a series of high-profile changes in preparation for the 2009 FIM Superbike World Championship season. Currently five motorcycle manufacturers are officially represented in the series Ducati from Italy, and Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki and Kawasaki from Japan but that number is set to rise to seven next year with the arrival of BMW from Germany and Aprilia from Italy, all with their latest-generation Superbike machines.

On the rider front, multiple 250GP champion Max Biaggi from Italy joins Aprilia to campaign their new RSV4 bike, while double Superbike champion Troy Corser from Australia, switches from Yamaha and, together with Spain's Ruben Xaus, will spearhead the BMW attack. Double Superbike champion, and possible three-time winner Troy Bayliss from Australia is set to retire at the end of the year, leaving an empty space in the factory Ducati Xerox team, while Japan's Noriyuki Haga will also be changing teams for next season.



FGSport

FGSport, based in Rome (Italy), is the division of FGS Organization which is specialized in the management and promotion of activities connected to the world of motorsport. FGSport is one of the key players in motor sport at a world level and is the organizer and promoter of the FIM SUPERBIKE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP, the FIM SUPERSPORT WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP, the SUPERSTOCK 1000 FIM CUP and the UEM EUROPEAN 600 SUPERSTOCK CHAMPIONSHIP. In 2007 FGSport joined forces with Swiss-based Infront Sports & Media AG, one of the world's leading international sports marketing companies.


FIM Superbike World Championship

The SUPERBIKE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP has been organized and promoted by FGSPORT since 1990 and is, together with Formula 1 and MotoGP, one of the three global products of world motor sport, a heritage of undisputed value for the fans and an exceptional marketing and communications vehicle for manufacturers and associated firms. It attracts over 1 million race spectators and has a worldwide TV viewing audience of more than 2 billion. In the four racing classes that make up the weekend event program, more than 140 riders representing 27 nations compete in front of a crowd of millions worldwide, through the press, radio, television and internet. Motorcycles for the Superbike, Supersport World Championships and Superstock Cup are based on recent or current production bikes, available to the public through the manufacturer's normal commercial channels.