Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Ben Spies Profile
Ben Spies (pronounced /ˈbɛn ˈspiːz/) (born July 11, 1984 in Germantown, Tennessee), also known as "Elbowz" due to his riding style where his elbows protrude outward, is a professional motorcycle road racer who turned pro in 2000. He won the AMA Superbike Championship for Yoshimura Suzuki in 2006 (only the second time since 1999 that his team-mate Mat Mladin had not won it), and successfully defended it in 2007 and 2008.
For 2009 he raced in the Superbike World Championship series for the Yamaha Italia team; winning the championship in his rookie year by six points over rival Noriyuki Haga. He started racing on Yamaha YSR50cc bikes with the Central Motorcycle Roadracing Association in Texas as a pre-teen. Spies currently lives in Longview, Texas.
World Superbike (WSBK)
On October 1, 2008, it was confirmed that Spies would join the Superbike World Championship for the 2009 season, riding for the factory Yamaha Italia team. He took pole position for his very first race meeting. He ran off the track on the first lap in race one (recovering to finish sixteenth despite a second incident) but was victorious in race 2 to become the first American to win a WSBK race since Colin Edwards in 2002.
Spies further impressed the World motorcycle racing community by winning both races of the second round in Losail, Qatar. En route, he again secured pole, the subsequent race wins, the fastest lap and the outright circuit lap record.
Ben Spies made history on May 30, 2009 at Miller Motorsports Park. Winning his 7th consecutive pole position during Saturday’s Superpole qualifying, Spies broke the long-standing record of 6 consecutive poles set in 1991 by fellow Texan Doug Polen. The pole set a number of records, including most consecutive pole positions in a season, most pole at the start of a season, and most in a row by a rookie. On October 24, 2009 at Portimão Circuit in Portugal he set a new record in pole securing his 11th pole of his rookie season. (It's worth noting, for non-World SBK fanatics/regulars, that, although there were a total of 28 races, unlike Moto GP, e.g., there are two races per event/location in WSBK. Accordingly, out of 14 events/locations, the vast majority at which Spies had previously had no experience, Spies took 11 poles, or 78%.)
On October 25, 2009 at the final round of the Championship at Portimão, Spies was crowned the 2009 Superbike World Champion after winning Race One, in conjunction with a fall from title rival Noriyuki Haga, and a solid 5th place in Race 2.
On October 1, 2009, Yamaha officially confirmed that Spies will join Yamaha Tech 3 to ride in the 2010 MotoGP Championship.
On October 3, 2009 it was confirmed that Spies would ride as a wildcard in the final MotoGP race of the season at Valencia in November.
"Before becoming incorporated into his the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team on Monday November 9, 2009 in the post-race Valencia test American rider Ben Spies did a good job for Yamaha in Sunday’s final MotoGP contest of the year in Valencia, crossing the line in seventh place – just ahead of Repsol Honda’s Andrea Dovizioso to help future team-mate Colin Edwards up the standings." He managed to finish in front of James Toseland, the rider whose position he will be taking at Tech 3.