Ben Spies Splitting With Yamaha?

American MotoGP star says he is leaving Yamaha’s factory MotoGP team at the end of this season.

Yamaha rider Ben Spies

Yamaha rider Ben Spies

An e-mail allegedly written by MotoGP star Ben Spies and posted Tuesday morning on American website SuperbikePlanet.com claims the Texan will leave the factory Yamaha squad at the end of the 2012 season. Spies is currently in his second year with the team. After nine of 18 scheduled races, he is 10th overall in points. Teammate Jorge Lorenzo leads the championship.

Here is the e-mail exactly as it was published: "Yesterday I made a comment on Twitter to cause a stir. (Today) I'll be more in saying that I have chosen to leave Yamaha after this season for a litany of reasons. I will explain more when I feel it is appropriate. I'm discussing my situation with my sponsors and they are behind me. There are a few people at Yamaha who I hate to leave. And they know who they are. I wish Yamaha the best. I won't make any further comments until the offical announcement comes out."

Spies followed up the e-mail with the following, somewhat confusing, comment on his Twitter account: "I'm extremely happy to push for the rest of the season to my fans and myself next year starts a new chapter. And yes I'm pumped!" And later, this: "Thanks for all the support. I'll fill u in when I can but I'll always give 100 percent just as my fans know I always will"

In a team press release regarding this weekend’s U.S. Grand Prix at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Spies made no mention of his future. “It’s always special racing in front of your home crowd. It’s been a pretty rough season so far, but we’ll see if we can turn it round here, put on a good show for all my fans and change it up for the second half of the year. We had some great results here before in AMA and not so bad on my first two MotoGP visits. It’s going to be great to see some old faces around the track over the weekend, too.”

Spies won three consecutive AMA Superbike championships from 2006-2008 with Yoshimura Suzuki and the World Superbike title on a Yamaha in 2009—his rookie season in that series. The following year, Spies joined the Tech 3 Yamaha satellite team in MotoGP, where he placed sixth in the championship and won Rookie of the Year honors. In 2011, Spies moved up to the factory Yamaha squad, scoring his first MotoGP victory at Assen and finishing fifth overall in the title chase.

So, what does all of this mean? We don’t know. Rather than speculate, we will simply have to wait for clarification from Spies and Yamaha.

Ben Spies and Jorge Lorenzo

Ben Spies and Jorge Lorenzo