Ben Spies: American wins MotoGP title, becoming the first American since 1999

Ben Spies won his first US title in the 2012 championship Ben Spies has become the first American in 12 years to win a MotoGP title, securing the final race at the Long Beach…

Ben Spies: American wins MotoGP title, becoming the first American since 1999

Ben Spies won his first US title in the 2012 championship

Ben Spies has become the first American in 12 years to win a MotoGP title, securing the final race at the Long Beach Grand Prix in California to add to his Moto2 victory of five years ago.

Spies produced a superb late-race duel with Italian Valentino Rossi, forcing a push-off on the final corner for a superb victory.

He overtook Lorenzo on the penultimate lap of the race.

Spies, 27, becomes only the second American winner in MotoGP after Tony Dovolani in 1999, six years before Spies was born.

“It was an incredible day. The start started out a little rough but we managed to get back in the race,” said Spies.

Spies, who has an Italian father and American mother, thanked “everyone in New York”, where he launched his riding career with an American amateur race in 2000.

That led to a sponsorship deal with US shoe company Reebok, which led to his first pole position for the 500cc MotoGP championship in 2008.

He switched from MotoGP to the 125cc format in 2015, but returned to the category this year for only his second season on the circuit, but made the step up to 500cc and took his first MotoGP podium with third place in Malaysia on the first round in Sepang.

Spies had finished runner-up in five of the 11 grands prix he has contested this season, and led the standings for 10th place after victory in Malaysia last weekend.

Rossi finished runner-up, two places ahead of Spain’s Jorge Lorenzo.

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