Ben Spies closing in on new Yamaha contract
Ben Spies is closing in on an extension to his current factory Yamaha MotoGP contract.
Talks about extending the Texan’s current deal have been in progress for a number of weeks with Spies and Yamaha intent of thrashing out new terms ahead of the 2011 MotoGP campaign.
Yamaha is keen to extend the 2009 World Superbike champion’s deal to bring him in line with the contracts of Valentino Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo, Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa.
The elite four are all under contract until the end of 2012, and it is possible the 26-year-old could sign a one-year extension with an option for ’13.
Spies, who enjoyed a sensational rookie campaign in MotoGP last season with the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team, will move to Yamaha’s factory team next season and partner new world champion Lorenzo.
His manager Phil Baker told MCN: “Talks are on-going. We are looking long-term within Yamaha and it would be a preference to have Ben’s contract in line with the other leading riders in MotoGP.
“Ben currently has his contract with Yamaha but he is almost a year ahead of himself and his contract is still based on him being a satellite rider.
“He’s a year ahead of that now and that’s why we feel by looking at a further extension that brings him the chance to establish himself with Yamaha rather than him changing and having to start from scratch all over again.
“Ben knows Yamaha gave him the opportunity in World Superbikes that he didn’t get elsewhere.
“And then they gave him the opportunity to move to MotoGP and now to move into the factory team. Ben is very loyal and there is a huge level of loyalty and a mutual respect.
“I think Ben and Yamaha would like to have something resolved quite quickly. We don’t want to be going into 2011 without a clear indication of the length of an extended deal.
“We want to make sure that Ben has got the best opportunity to win the MotoGP championship and I believe that opportunity is by extending the contract he currently has with Yamaha.”
Yamaha boss Lin Jarvis told MCN last month of his desire to negotiate a new deal with Spies, who finished sixth in the final points standings in 2010 with podium finishes at Silverstone and Indianapolis.
Jarvis told MCN: “Ben is on a two-year deal, but he’s got one year to run. We’re already in discussion with him and our intention is to renew Ben for two more years. We have been talking to Ben and his management for some time.
“Our initial priority was to ensure we got Lorenzo on contract. We did that recently, so now we have got Jorge on contract our next priority is to sign Ben on a longer contract.”