Ben Spies has brought his MotoGP graduation forward and will join Tech 3 Yamaha next season.
The World Superbike title contender had previously announced that he would remain in his current championship next season prior to a 2011 MotoGP switch, but even after this deal was concluded speculation continued that he would be making the move sooner.
Today Yamaha confirmed that its plans had changed and Spies would be a Tech 3 MotoGP rider in 2010.
"I want to thank Yamaha globally for their faith in me," said Spies. "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."
Yamaha racing boss Lin Jarvis said the request to join MotoGP early came from Spies himself.
"Following the announcement of Ben's two year deal with Yamaha one month ago, he has reassessed his options and decided that he would like to move to MotoGP sooner rather than later," he said. "Yamaha has considered his request and together with Tech 3 we were able to find a way to make it happen.
"Ben has done a fantastic job in his rookie season in World Superbike and we are very excited to now be welcoming him into our MotoGP program sooner than we originally expected. We believe that Ben will be a fast learner next season and a strong future championship contender. We look forward to working with him in the years ahead."
Spies will bring several members of his own crew to Tech 3 with him.
"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," he said. "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 to eight which, given the talented line up, will be a tall order."
The 25-year-old American is currently second in the World Superbike standings - just three points behind championship leader Noriyuki Haga - with four races remaining, having won 12 times in his spectacular rookie season. He has previous MotoGP experience from three appearances with Suzuki in 2008.
Colin Edwards is expected to stay on at Tech 3 as Spies' teammate, with James Toseland left seeking a new ride. His options appear limited to the remaining Pramac Ducati seat alongside Mika Kallio, or a return to World Superbikes.