Spies to replace Rossi, Ducati ditch Superbikes
Tokyo: American Ben Spies will replace Ducati-bound Valentino Rossi at Yamaha next season, the MotoGP team said in a statement on Friday.
The 26-year-old, who won the World Superbike Championship with Yamaha in 2009 and is seventh in the current MotoGP standings, makes the step up to the factory team from Yamaha Tech 3.
"Ben has shown great promise in his first 10 MotoGP races," said Lin Jarvis, managing director of Yamaha Motor Racing.
"He has learnt rapidly and recorded strong results. We believe that Ben will be a future title contender."
World champion Rossi is leaving for Ducati after becoming frustrated with Yamaha also boasting championship leader Jorge Lorenzo of Spain.
The increasing superiority of MotoGP over the Superbikes championship was also displayed on Friday when Ducati announced they would not run a team in Superbikes from next year.
"This decision is part of a specific strategy made by Ducati, the aim being to further increase technological content in production models that will arrive on the market in the coming years," a Ducati statement said.
"Ducati... has decided to limit its participation to the supply of machines and support to private teams."
Ducati have featured with a factory team in each edition of the World Superbike Championship since it started in 1988, winning 16 manufacturers` world titles and 13 riders` world titles.