This weekend's Moto GP Race in Valencia was the final race of the 2009 season, and with it - James Toseland's final race in Moto GP for the foreseeable future.
Tech 3 announced before the race that next year’s rider line up will be Colin Edwards and Ben Spies (despite telling JT earlier in the year that they didn’t want two American riders in one team). James Toseland will be returning to World Superbikes for 2009 in an effort to equal Carl Foggerty’s record of 4 World Superbike titles.
Ben Spies has just been crowned World Superbike Champion and was given a wildcard entry into the Valencia GP (racing for the Sterilgarda Yamaha Team), impressing everyone once again with a 7th place finish. This is his 4th Moto GP race after 2 races last year for Suzuki and praise for the young Texan has been flooding in after such an impressive performance this weekend. Spies passed Andrea Dovizioso late in the race to not only secure his position in the race, but to also help nail 5th position in the Championship for his fellow Texan and team mate for next year, Colin Edwards. Edwards was quick to embrace the rookie rider after the race and seemed delighted with his team’s new choice for 2nd rider.
James Toseland finished the race in 12th position, and perhaps more importantly he finished 14th in the championship. He said of the race:
“I really enjoyed my last race. I wanted to give my team everything I had and I'm proud to say I did that. I had a good first few laps and took a few risks with not a lot of temperature in the tyres and got myself into a good position. But unfortunately on about lap 15 the rear tyre turned on the rim and I wasn't able to keep the pace and stay in the bunch that were battling for seventh place. I'd like to congratulate Colin for fifth in the championship because he has done a brilliant job. I'd like to thank everybody working with the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team for all the effort and support they have given me. I've had an absolutely fantastic time with them and I'll take a lot of interest in how they perform in the future. I've made a lot of friends in MotoGP and at Tech 3 and the team will always hold a special place in my heart. Now I've got to look to the future and I do so relishing a new challenge with Yamaha.”
Based on current form it seems that Spies will be a great asset to the satellite Yamaha team for 2010, and if JT can reinvigorate his WSBK form and equal Foggie’s record then he may well return bigger and better to Moto GP in the future.