Yamaha has announced that it will bring Ben Spies into MotoGP on one of its satellite bikes in 2011, but the American will remain in World Superbikes next season.
The multiple AMA Superbike champion is currently a close second in the WSBK standings, having taken 11 wins in his rookie season so far. This form led to speculation that he could move to MotoGP as early as 2010, but Yamaha announced today that he would spend one more year in Superbikes before making the switch.
"I am very happy to say that I will remain a part of the Yamaha family," said Spies, "and that I will continue in the WSB series for 2010. This is an exciting period of my racing career and I look forward now even more.
"Yamaha has been great in the warm welcome that I have received entering the world arena and I want to thank them for all they have done, and for giving me their trust for a next career step into MotoGP in 2011."
The team's managing director Lin Jarvis said it was important that Spies was free to focus on his Superbike title bid before being transferred to MotoGP.
"We are truly excited about the prospect of Ben's arrival into our future MotoGP program," Jarvis said. "Ben is doing a great job for Yamaha in his first season in the World Superbike Championship. He is in great shape to challenge for the title this year and we will be rooting for him at the remaining four events this season.
"Ben's primary mission is to win both his and Yamaha's first World Superbike title. After that when Ben eventually makes the move to the MotoGP championship we will be ready for him."
Under new rules that come into place next season as part of the major cost-cutting measures, factory MotoGP teams are no longer allowed to sign rookie riders. Jarvis confirmed that this was why Spies would initially be placed with a satellite Yamaha squad rather than going straight into the works lineup.
"In line with the new MotoGP regulations, we will create a place for him within the Yamaha satellite team and give him the support he needs for his next challenge," said Jarvis.
French squad Tech 3 currently runs Yamaha's satellite bikes in MotoGP.