James Toseland will lose his MotoGP place to Ben Spies in 2010, Yamaha have today confirmed.
A Yamaha statement confirmed that Spies will make the switch up to MotoGP, taking Toseland’s seat in the 2010 Championship.
Whilst the statement made no mention of Toseland’s future, the British rider, who has struggled to meet expectations in his second season in MotoGP with the Yamaha Tech 3 team, has not been offered a contract to remain with Yamaha in MotoGP in 2010.
Spies will therefore partner Colin Edwards, who has also agreed a one-year contract extension, in what will be all-American Tech 3 garage. The move means that Britain is without a rider in the 2010 premier class.
“I want to thank Yamaha globally for their faith in me,” said Spies. “They have treated me like royalty!
“Yamaha just recently allowed me to rethink my contract for 2010-2011; I did sign for WSB for 2010 but after Indy I began thinking of the competition and my age versus waiting until 2011.
“This was not an easy decision, the Yamaha World Superbike Team crew and especially Massimo (Maio) Meregalli have been fantastic and it’s been great fun to put in a season together. I am hoping that I can give Maio, Laurens Klein Koerkamp and everyone else a championship to remember this year with me.
“I have enjoyed his series and this first year racing in Europe. Now I have two challenges, to complete this year giving my best and to move towards new goals in MotoGP. Herve Poncharal at Tech 3 is showing his support by allowing me to come on board with my Crew Chief Tom Houseworth and Gregory Wood, my mechanic, who have both been with me since AMA days. We will have learning curves to overcome next year but I am up for the new goal.
“I hope to have a good year and my goal is to try and stay in the top 6-8 which, given the talented line up, will be a tall order. With the world upside down, there is one constant for me and that’s Yamaha.”
The arrangement is likely to see Toseland swap bikes with Spies, with the Yorkshireman taking the now vacant seat in the Sterilgarda Yamaha WSB team to compete in the championship that he won in 2007, although this has yet to be confirmed.
The decision will come as little surprise to British fans, with Toseland’s MotoGP future under threat for much of the year after a slow start to his second season, coupled with Spies’ emergence on the WSB scene.
The 28-year-old, who stands in 13th position in the championship, has finished in the top six on just three occasions this season and finished ahead of teammate Edwards on just one occasion, in Motegi back in round two, although Toseland also finished 10th when Edwards was taken out of the San Marino Grand Prix a month ago by Alex de Angelis.
Toseland’s manager Roger Burnett was believed to have spoken to a number of teams, including Pramac Ducati and teams in the new Moto2 championship, but a return to WSB was always thought to be most likely.