Herve Poncharal: "I Want Spies For 2010"

With Ben Spies tearing up the World Superbike paddock and already being hotly tipped for the championship, talk has already started of a possible future in MotoGP. Though such talk is perhaps a little premature, just two rounds in the WSBK season, but it is clear that Spies has made a devastating impact, and looks almost certain to end up in MotoGP at some point in the future.

The question is, of course, just where he'll go. That he will stick with Yamaha goes without saying: In recent years, Yamaha has shown itself very astute at selecting riders with championship potential, but this very adroitness leaves the factory with something of a problem. With Valentino Rossi set to stay in MotoGP with Yamaha for at least two more years, and Jorge Lorenzo already his annointed successor, Yamaha's embarrassment of riches leaves them no room for Spies in the factory team.

Knowing that Yamaha will want to keep Spies on board, Tech 3 Yamaha boss Herve Poncharal has already launched a bid for the Texan's throttle hand. In an interview with the French automotive portal Caradisiac.com, Poncharal stated his hope of obtaining Spies' services for next season. "Frankly, Ben Spies has astounded me," Poncharal told Caradisiac.com. "It's obvious that he's an exceptional rider. I want to have him for 2010! We talked to him last year, just as we did with Simoncelli. Ben Spies has made a big impression so far, he has more than earned a place in MotoGP. It's obvious to me that he'll be there in 2010, and I hope it will be with us."

As Tech 3 already has a full complement of riders, the question is who will be making way for Spies at the end of the year. The general consensus is that Colin Edwards could retire from MotoGP at the end of the season and go back either to World Superbikes or to the AMA. But with the US national series in disarray, and little benefit to be gained in terms of a spending more time In the US by a switch to World Superbikes, Edwards may instead elect to stay in MotoGP another year.

This would put James Toseland in the firing line, and worryingly for the British ace, Poncharal was full of praise for Edwards: "Colin has great technical feel. He immediately got to grips with the Bridgestones, something which wasn't self-evident. Look at Lorenzo, it took him two days to start to match his times." On Toseland, Poncharal was a good deal more downbeat: "James has everything he asked for. We have given him perfect conditions for him to succeed. We now expect him to run with the other Yamaha riders. The only person who holds the key to his lack of performance is James himself."

Toseland's dumping of his former crew chief Guy Coulon in favor of Edwards' mechanic Gary Reynders has caused a good deal of bad blood with Edwards, and has also cost the Briton much of his political capital, both within the team and in the MotoGP paddock. Toseland will have to deliver this year, or there will be another Texan standing in line to take his place. And at the rate at which Ben Spies is progressing, JT will have to show the sparkling form he had in beating Troy Bayliss to the World Superbike championship if he is to keep his place in MotoGP.

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... for the easily over-used "Texas Two-Step" phrase?  (Sadly, my mind already is playing up the potential of Nick Harris saying it 5 times every week.)

I have nothing against Toseland, and don't want to see him fail, and I want to see more bikes on the grid next year.  But, there's just something oddly poetic, never mind engineering wisdom, about a Frenchman featuring the services of two lanky Texans in one garage.  With the very realistic potential of Monster staying on to support those two Americans, maybe even as a contingency of their support, Mr. Poncharal is just playing it smart on several fronts.

I would say that you can write Elbowz' name in ink on the calendar for the Catalunya and Brno tests.

I know that teams / companies are really tight when it comes to letting their riders (or drivers, for that matter) participate in races in other series. Still, Yamaha would benefit from having Spies on their MotoGP bike, even if just for the tests. Yet it makes me wonder - do you think there is any chance we could see Spies as a Valencia wild card? Could he be a wild card for any other MotoGP races? And as someone below commented, what about the 8 Hours of Suzuka?

Silly season is here again. All of the drama and none of the racing.

Anyway, it is good to see that the bidding is alrady starting for Spies.

Imo i think spies is smarter then dumping a factory WSBK ride and going to a second rate satelite team. He'll stay another season until rossi retires and step in on factory equipment where he has a chance to win.

When the new rule gets through that Rookies will have to start off with a satellite team from 2010 onwards, Spies will have to be satisfied with Tech3 in his first year. But if Tech3 can deliver another season like the last one where they were the best satellite team, I think Spies could do worse than joining up Herve's team.

Two Americans on the same team, I don't see it happening. James may have screwed himself by dumping Coulon but he also has the right passport. Dorna will want to keep James in the series, of course this doesn't mean he stays with Tech 3, but I do feel he still has a fair amount of political capital on his side. In addition James has given Yamaha a presence (at this level) in the UK, I don't believe two texans is of any advantage to Yamaha in the US.

Personally I like to see Edwards replaced with Spies. Edwards is so tiring to listen to. Best bike ever, 1-2 championship finish (notice he's always the number 2) bla bla bla. It great to hear racers speak without the hand of the PR puppetmaster firmly shoved up the behind, but its equally frustrating when they never back up anything they say. In my opinion Edwards has had so many opportunities at this level and not delivered, JT is finding his feet and this year will be a tremendous test, but if race results were all that counted Edwards would have been off to another series years ago.

Spies and JT for 2010.

Funny isn't it, JT has a season that didn't exactly set the World alight, but still did reasonably well in what is his debut season on a bike that whilst one of the best, certainly lags behind the factory team. Realistically, a top 10 finish would have been a good season and he was a few points off that, but it was hardly a disaster.

Herve is correct though. JT does now have all the ingredients in place for a good year and failure to capitalise on that will not be good for his career, but as you say, if results were all that dictated who raced in Motogp, half the field would be absent. And Colin, with 6yrs in Motogp, most of those with what is considered to be the best bike out there, certainly hasn't done anything to justify his being retained above all others.

What has CE done in those 6yrs that should allow him to retain his seat?

CEJAY per above, let me see what he has done ? well 2 WSBK titles,
Here is and answer as to why CE is around Motogp. Besides Suzuka results etc, oh yeah Vale picked him as his teamate .
By season
Seas Class Moto Race Win Pod Pole FLap Pts Plcd WCh
2003 MotoGP Aprilia RS3 Cube 16 0 0 0 0 62 13th - factory
2004 MotoGP Honda RC211V 16 0 2 0 2 157 5th - satellite
2005 MotoGP Yamaha YZR-M1 17 0 3 0 1 179 4th - factory
2006 MotoGP Yamaha YZR-M1 17 0 1 0 0 124 7th - factory
2007 MotoGP Yamaha YZR-M1 18 0 2 2 0 124 9th - factory
2008 MotoGP Yamaha YZR-M1 18 0 2 1 0 144 7th - satellite
Total 102 0 10 3 3 790 0

Judge a motorcycle racer by what he has done in the last 5 years. Jt will really have to get busy scoring points, this year, right away or he will be done. JT
brings very little money thru sponsorship, and really pissed Herve off over the stealing of CE 'S race engineer, which Herve knew nothing about until it was a fight, and now CE AND JT do not even speak ? Strange that, as CE is just about the nicest guy in the paddock. First rule of racing.. beat yout teamate. JT cannot do do any talking crap till he beats CE . Will not happen.
Oh yeah, contrary to what most people think, the biggest race in the world is Suzuka, period, money marketing and scoring points with the guys who sign your cheques.

Suzuka 8 Hours
In 1996, Edwards teamed with Noriyuki Haga to claim victory in the Suzuka 8 Hours endurance race riding a Yamaha, his first international victory. Edwards won the 8 Hours two more times: in 2001 with Valentino Rossi, and in 2002 with the late Daijiro Kato, both times with Honda

By the way your dissing JT, i would almost be thinking your talking about Justin Timberlake!!!
JT did beat Vermulan to SBK title.

well, in his first year in gp's, he finished ahead of noriyuki haga on the same bike (the ill-fated aprilia) 62 points to 47 points, then in his second year, he beat one of the factory rcv's (hayden) and finished 7 points behind the other (barros) on a decidedly satellite bike. the next year, as rossi's parts and tire tester, he finished 4th, and then 2 bad years in 7th and 9th places - running wingman for rossi. overall, that's not too bad- especially when you consider in those years, michelin relied heavily on his input. certainly, he did not have the best bike in any of those years- even when rossi won the championship in 05 (colin finished 4th), the 05 m1 yamaha was not the best bike on the grid.

what surprised me (and a lot of others i'm sure) was that colin finished ahead of JT last season. how many of you predicted that? i thought (and i'm sure many others as well) that JT was going to put colin on the trailer. that, is what made JT look bad. a "washed up" edwards beating JT in the overall standings doesn't bode well when bargaining for a seat in moto gp.

atm, without knowing how they will sort things out this season, i'd rather have a younger toseland and spies on the same team rather than edwards. let's see how toseland responds this year. if he gets beat by edwards again, well, that's a different story. 2 years in a row beaten by your old man teammate? see you later JT.

although it's way to early in the season and things may still go pear-shaped for spies- i wonder what is going through the minds of the suzuki execs who are in charge of hiring riders- or was that denning's decision? didn't the guy Q 4th and finish in 6th in his 3rd gp? hello?

Yamaha took that risk this year in SBK and it looks to pay off so far (we'll see). It is also no secret that Simoncelli is very close to Rossi. Factory ride is clearly not available for Simoncelli by 2010 but everyone being on Bridgestone, there is no need for Edwards to develop a Michelin-shod bike nor an American name if Spies comes in. Rossi and Lorenzo could develop the bike at factory level while two AAA rookies learn their way in MotoGP. I don't see Edwars still around next year and Toseland really needs to live up to expectations to keep his current ride. I am sure he can.