It is news that we have been expecting going into the Valencia GP, and today it became real, as Cal Crutchlow will leave his full-time racing job for duties as Yamaha’s MotoGP test rider next season.
The expectation of the news came from two factors. One, that Cal Crutchlow was losing his long-time seat in LCR Honda to Alex Marquez. And two, that the 35-year-old has made it clear that with his ongoing injuries that his time in the saddle was soon coming to an end.
In many ways, the life of a MotoGP test rider was the perfect option for Cal Crutchlow, and when Yamaha became dissatisfied with the services of Jorge Lorenzo, who has more than lost his racer’s edge, the marriage between Crutchlow and Yamaha seemed set.
Of course, Crutchlow has a long history with the tuning fork brand, as he won the 2009 World Supersport Championship onboard the Yamaha YZF-R6, and spent is formative years in the MotoGP paddock with the satellite Yamaha Tech3 squad.
As a Yamaha test rider, he will take part in the MotoGP shakedown test at Sepang (February 14th-16th), and he will take part in the official IRTA Tests and other private Yamaha tests.
Where it makes sense for the testing program, Crutchlow could also take part in some wild card race appearances, and he will be at the top of Yamaha’s list for replacement riders should one of the manufacturer’s racers be unable to compete.
“Well, first and foremost I would like to say ‘welcome back’ to Cal,” said Lin Jarvis, Managing Director of Yamaha Motor Racing. “I still remember Cal‘s first visit to YMR many years ago as fresh World Supersport Champion and recall he expressed his desire to move onwards and upwards to MotoGP in the future.”
“After the initial move to Superbikes, he then spent three seasons with us in the Monster Energy Yamaha Tech3 team before moving on to gain a further seven years of experience with two of our main competitors. This wealth of experience, coupled with Cal‘s honest no-nonsense approach, will surely benefit us greatly as we strive to improve our YZR-M1 bikes with a full testing programme next year.”
“Of course, we had planned and hoped for a strong program this year with Jorge. Unfortunately, our Factory Test Team soon had to put their plans on hold as the COVID-19 pandemic started and continued to influence 2020 from March onwards.
“It‘s regrettable that we have not been able to carry out our testing program and realize our goals. We wish Jorge all the best in his future endeavors, and we thank him for his many years of collaboration with Yamaha.”
Source: Yamaha Racing; Photo: MotoGP