Triple US Superbike Champion Ben Spies is set to ride alongside Britain's Tom Sykes in the official Yamaha Italia World Superbike team in 2009.
Spies has been linked with the Yamaha ride after being shunned by the Rizla Suzuki MotoGP squad in favour of their existing two riders Chris Vermeulen and Loris Capirossi.
Spies has confirmed that he is leaving Suzuki and leaving the AMA Superbike Championship at the end of the season.
Yamaha are expected to confirm Spies to the team tomorrow (Wednesday).
The signing will mean that the Yamaha squad will have two WSB rookies onboard their all new Big Bang R1 following the departure of current riders Noriyuki Haga to Xerox Ducati and Troy Corser to BMW.
Yamaha Italia Team boss Massimo Meregalli confirmed to MCN that the decision was between current MotoGP man Sylvain Guintoli who impressed the squad when he tested their bike in Italy or Spies. But rumours from the MotoGP paddock in Japan at the weekend suggest that Guintoli has been ruled out of getting the coveted ride , leaving Spies the number one option.
For full details and to get all of the news on the latest WSB signings see MCN out Wednesday 1st October.