Ben Spies has admitted his decision to quit World Superbikes and move to MotoGP was a ‘difficult’ one.
The 25-year-old Texan has agreed to join compatriot Colin Edwards in the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team a year ahead of schedule, having initially intended to remain in World Superbikes in 2010.
The decision by Spies, who has won won 12 races in his rookie WSB campaign, has left British rider James Toseland out of MotoGP.
The Sheffield rider will now complete a straight switch with Spies and partner Cal Crutchlow in WSB next season.
Speaking about his MotoGP deal with Herve Poncharal’s Tech 3 Yamaha squad, Spies said he changed his mind about staying in WSB after the recent Indianapolis GP.
He said: “I want to thank Yamaha globally for their faith in me. 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 six or eight which, given the talented line up, will be a tall order.”