Ben Spies has signed an extension to his factory Yamaha deal to partner Jorge Lorenzo in the new 1000cc MotoGP world championship in 2012.
Talks have been going on for months between the Texan and the Japanese factory but an agreement was finally signed on Saturday night in Catalunya.
Spies, who claimed his first rostrum of 2011 when he claimed third place in last weekend’s Catalunya MotoGP race, said: “I am very happy to say that I will remain a part of the Yamaha family and that I will continue in the MotoGP series for 2012.
This is a privileged time of my career riding for the most successful team in recent years at the very highest racing level. Yamaha has been great in supporting me through World Superbike and on to MotoGP and I want to thank them for all they have done, and for giving me their trust to continue in MotoGP in 2012.”
Spies has enjoyed remarkable success so far in his Yamaha career and he won the 2009 World Superbike championship on a factory R1 with a record number of wins.
He immediately moved to MotoGP and was the 2010 Rookie of the Year, claiming podium finishes in Silverstone and Indianapolis.
Lin Jarvis, Managing Director of Yamaha Motor Racing, said "We are obviously delighted to announce the continuation of our partnership with Ben for the 2012 season and we hope that he will remain at Yamaha for many years to come.
"Ben has shown his ability to successfully compete at the highest level; firstly by becoming Yamaha's first World Superbike champion in 2009 and then attaining the status of Best Rookie in 2010 with the Tech 3 Yamaha Team.
"His transition to the Yamaha Factory Racing team in 2011 has just begun and we have every confidence in Ben's abilities and high potential for the future.
"This timely decision now allows us to concentrate on the present championship and, in parallel, to prepare for our 2012 MotoGP program with the change to the 1000cc bikes."
By signing for 2012, it means Spies’ contract now runs at the same time as Casey Stoner, Dani Pedrosa, Valentino Rossi and Lorenzo.