Ben Spies Talks About Leaving Yamaha

01/02/2013 @ 3:12 pm, by Jensen Beeler24 COMMENTS

Today, Cycle World posted a great story by none other than MotoGP’s Ben Spies. Now out of his contractual obligations with Yamaha Racing, Spies can finally speak candidly about his 2012 season, and what was occurring behind close doors within the Yamaha factory team, as well as his contract negotiations within the MotoGP and World Superbike paddocks.

Some of the story we already know, like how a high-ranking Yamaha official told Ben Spies to give 100% or not show up, after the American was sidelined with food poisoning at Mugello. Spies also sheds light on the rumors about his switch back to WSBK, namely with the BMW Motorrad team. Discussing his interactions with HRC and Gresini Racing, Spies also sheds insight about how he ultimately landed in the Ducati Corse camp. Head over to Cycle World, the article is well-worth a read.

What you won’t get in the self-written article, is a clear explanation of all the misfortune and poor results that the American GP rider fell victim to last season. Certainly some of these results have obvious causes, but conspiracy theorists will be frustrated with Spies’s “there’s no way anybody could have planned all that or made it happen…it was just a lot of bad luck” explanation.

Offering only that his Yamaha M1 “wasn’t 100 percent” as well last season, Spies seems ready for next year and the challenges that await him at Ducati. The Texan seems pragmatic about the state of the Desmosedici, and what Ducati and Audi can do about the Italian company’s MotoGP racing program.

Now riding a bike that has dealt a death blow to a bevy of racing careers, 2013 will be an interesting year for Spies, and it will likely mark either the turning point or ending point for the American’s GP racing career. For his part, Spies seems excited about the road ahead. We wish him the best of luck.

Source: Cycle World; Photo: © 2012 Scott Jones / Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved

  • dagoof

    Good luck Ben. I hope this season works out much better for you.

  • BenFaster

    Best article I’ve seen in awhile. It really will be fun to see if they can give Ben and Nicky something with enough feel to fight in the top 5. I would not bet a plug nickel on it – but I can always hope! Lets Get IT!

  • Davey Gravy

    I’m no ‘pro road racer spotter’, but isn’t that a picture of Jorge?

  • TexusTim

    Dave, thats spies yo……so I went and read the article, Im no pro bu I am a licensed road racer, and I have crashed a litre bike a time or two and just the statement were he talks about the seat and subframe makes no sence,,, you crash at practise you jump on the back up bike and Tom and team would go over the primary bike for any issues ? guess he and his team missed that… way that could happen sorry I know better than that hell you have to grab it to put it on the stand but beyond that a crashed primary bike that still has issues is rider and team responsability period.same with the swingarm at laguna,,,tom and team again did his team miss the crack in the swingarm ? I mean you have to put tire warmers on so they missed that too ? he left out the story about his facesheild being defective.
    sorry to be a downer but I get the food poisioning but really even that only goes so far after all he chose were to go and what to eat.. it all goes to show one thing IF THE RIDER ISNT FOCUSED AND ON HIS GAME HOW CAN YOU EXPECT THE TEAM TO BE ON SONG..? and all I have heard is excuses and his demeaner may seem humble in this interview but this is a man who welches on his debts to the degree that the judge said ben and his mom have systemicly not paid for contracts enter into and then find unresonable excuses not to pay…I think when the lawsuit settled(ben lost of course) yamaha picked up on that and his lack of focus…Ie: on the phone making deals for resturants like he had already won a championship or two or listening to music on headphones as if all is good with bike and team…if what he says is true he knew after the first race things were off…I belive I would have been more involved with my team and bike even to the point of cheking it out himself…I mean at what point dont you get more involved ?… if your allways on song maybe won a few more races
    the headphone isnt a big deal…but too take a factory ride and not be into the team just doesnt get it done….I AM GOING TO DO A ROSSI HERE AND PREDICT SPIES WILL NEVER WIN A MOTO GP RACE AGAIN

  • Peter Geran

    Photo sure looks like Lorenzo

  • HJC helmet, Monster Energy, facial hair…I can’t believe we’re having this discussion…

  • All I’m going to say is (after reading all this and what Ben had to say) lets see what happens when the RED lights go out in Qatar!!

  • gabe

    haha Texustim blaming Spies for getting food poisoning…and predicting he will never win again (on a Ducati? of course he won’t!)

  • Bruce

    @ TexasTim, still recovering from your New Year’s Eve party? Uh, speaking of focus.

    @ Jensen, sometimes it just feels like the Twilight Zone, eh? Or maybe a couple of hungover readers. Don’t worry, most of us know that it’s a photo of Ben Spies. Wow.

    Good luck to Ben. I’d enjoy seeing Ben and Nicky near the front this year.


    Monster Energy Drink for Ben Spies and Rockstar Energy Drink for Jorge Lorenzo. So the picture is very obvious, it’s Ben Spies. Hope this clarify with Davey & Peter.

    For Ben Spies, whatever happened in the past there’s nothing you can do about it. Just leave it behind you and move forward and try to do your very best in the future races ahead in you. Hope you will be a good match with the Ducati GP13. Good Luck and just enjoy your time in MotoGP.

  • Caine6060

    Defintely Spies. To see this guy dominate ama and wsb.and then show a glimpse in motogp; then fall from the ranks , has to be tough. I think the Ducati is gonna be tough for him with the front end issues. I would like to see him reunite with Suzuki and have a teamate in Alvaro.

  • Westward

    I don’t think the Ducati is going to be nearly the challenge for Spies that many would suspect. His description of Yamaha, Lorenzo, and Rossi seem very accurate. Which to me means Spies and Ducati just may be a better fit for one another. The characteristics of the D16 may suit the riding styles of Spies and Iannone, better than Dovizioso.

    Maybe that s why Hayden seem to look better than Rossi in qualifying. Rossi’s racing talent is better than Haydens, and that is why he placed better.

    I think the Ducati will allow Spies to ride more like be wants to, instead of like the Yamaha where he was trying to ride more like Rossi and Lorenzo…

    I on the other hand think Spies will win in MotoGP and he will do so on a Ducati…

  • smiler

    He says his style was not nearly as smooth as Lorenzo. Could be the difference again between those from supers and those that have come thru 125, moto2. The mechanical problems, as well as team guffs could be the result of his style. No one from Supers has really made it in MotoGP yet. Edwards being the closest yet.
    Personally I think he come up from WSB too quickly. He was there for one season before being pushed up by Yamaha as Toseland had to retire.
    He has his chance to prove himeself with Ducati. Looking forward to it. When he is on form he is an entertaining rider.

  • Chaz Michael Michaels

    This just in: confidential sources have revealed TexusTim as the “unnamed senior Yamaha employee” who lost confidence in Spies.

    According to sources who wish to remain anonymous, Texus, known in the Paddock as “Sherm the Sushi Chef” was angry with Spies for turning down an offer to open a chain of fast food sushi restaurants in Austin so he slipped Spies a slice of bad unagi…

    Ahh, joking in the new year.

    Spies is a great rider. Really hoping he has better luck on the Ducati! Come on elbowz!!

  • Keet

    Wow TexusTim, you shoulda left a contact number, sounds like a club racer knows more than a 3-time AMA Superbike Champion (back when AMA racing meant something), 1-time World Superbike champion, and MotoGP Rookie of the year, and his crew chief. They should probably check with you first, huh?

  • BBQdog

    Well, part of the season I believed Yamaha screwed on every part they could find on the Yamaha scrapyard that would hold for a couple of rounds, maybe a whole race with some luck.

  • David

    I don’t think that’s Spies chin. Besides, there is no chip on that guys shoulder. lol

    This says it all:

  • Peter Geran

    Classic Blues Brothers :-)

  • Cpt.Slow

    1.) Def Spies- eyes, partial face, and chin (not to mention his helmet).

    2.) Why do some think that being on a Suzuki would a good idea (Suzuki’s 4-stoke GP project stunk)?

    3.) We’ll never know the full story, even after these riders retire.

  • Motonut

    @Davey Well if you could see the future you would have known that HJC signed Lorenzo to a contract and Monster will be the major sponsorer of both Jorge and Valentino’s bike in 2013.

  • Motonut

    @Jeensen so maybe he knows something you dont LOL!

  • Well, I do know the photo was taken at Jerez in 2012, so…

    It is funny that JL has now switched to HJC and that Monster could be coming on-board as a team sponsor. Adds a bit of intrigue to the Spies story, don’t you think?

  • Davey Gravy

    Time for me to go buy a lottery ticket ;)

  • Motonut

    @Jensen I find it strange that HJC signs Jorge after Ben leaves. Whats next? Yamaha again runs Termignoni since Rossi is back??? well Mosnter would rather have both guys under the helm as only Rossi because if Jorge dominates again in 2013″ which no doubt he will do”. Monster doesnt want to look bad by losing to Rockstar energy. So they figure if they have both bikes they look good either way if Rossi stinks up the joint and Jorge outshines him.