Ben walks out the door

MotoGP star leaves Yamaha in search of greener pastures

Ben "Elbowz" Spies announced he would be leaving the Factory Yamaha MotoGP team at the end of the 2012 season. He made the surprise announcement prior to his home US Grand Prix at Laguna Seca.

"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 official announcement comes out."

Spies tweeted on his official Twitter page (@BenSpies11) the following message: "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!"

Looking back at his results in 2012, perhaps he should consider himself lucky not to have been fired by Yamaha. While Jorge Lorenzo has already won his second MotoGP title, Spies has underperformed to an alarming degree. Admittedly there have been some health issues but the fiery Texan has not only provided poor backup for his team leader, he's also failed to beat the Tech3 Yamaha satellite bikes of Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow not to mention the customer Hondas of Alvaro Bautista and Stefan Bradl. Perhaps worst of all, even the clearly inferior works Ducatis of Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden have scored more points than Spies.

Victory in 2011 at Assen must seem like an age away

As of today, Ben has undergone shoulder surgery for injuries he sustained at the Malaysian Grand Prix. He missed the following race at Phillip Island and there is no word yet on his participation in the final round of the 2012 season. As for his replacement at Yamaha, we all now know that 'The Doctor' will be returning home so it was probably a case of Valentino Rossi pushing the American out the door rather than him choosing to walk.

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