James Toseland loses MotoGP ride
World Superbike sensation Ben Spies has opted to quit World Superbikes and move to the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 squad where he will join fellow Texan Colin Edwards next season in an all-American team.
According to MCN sources, Toseland’s departure was finalised earlier this week after meetings between Tech 3 boss Herve Poncharal and senior Yamaha management in Milan.
Despite a hugely promising rookie campaign in 2008 when he claimed six top six finishes, the Yorkshireman has struggled to build on that success this season.
He was badly hindered by two massive pre-season crashes but only three top six finishes in the opening 13 races of 2009 have failed to save Toseland from the axe.
Spies, who recently signed a two-year deal with Yamaha, has decided to quit WSB even though he has yet to clinch the world title.
It was thought the triple American superbike champion would delay a decision on his 2010 plans until his WSB title fight with Ducati star Noriyuki Haga had been concluded.
But his decision has meant the end of Toseland’s MotoGP career after just two seasons racing against in the elite class.
MCN also understands Toseland’s manager Roger Burnett was in Milan this week trying to secure the 28-year-old British rider a place in Yamaha’s World Superbike squad as replacement for Spies.
But there is fierce competition for an R1 ride with World Supersport leader Cal Crutchlow a leading candidate. Aussie Chris Vermeulen also held talks with Yamaha management in Italy this week.
An official announcement on Spies’ decision could be made shortly with details now being leaked. If not the deal will probably made official at the Imola WSB round next weekend.
Spies’ decision to move to MotoGP will leave British fans without a home rider to support in 2010.