With three podiums and a pole position this year, Cal Crutchlow’s stock continues to rise. As the only top rider out of contract, there is much speculation about where the talented Englishman could end up.

All three factories have expressed an interest in Crutchlow, with Ducati and Yamaha the frontrunners to secure his services for next year. Crutchlow has made his preference clear: to remain at Yamaha, either in the factory team or at Tech 3, with the kind of factory support given to Stefan Bradl in the LCR Honda team by HRC.

For Yamaha, the situation is more complicated. With reigning world champion Jorge Lorenzo on the books, as well as nine-time former champ Valentino Rossi, Yamaha currently has no room in the factory team.

And with Bradley Smith on a two-year contract, the factory faces a dilemma: hang on to Cal Crutchlow for another year in the satellite team, or go for a young talent like Pol Espargaro, in the hope that they can develop into a rider to take on Marc Marquez for the next few years.

After a positive meeting between Crutchlow, Yamaha and Tech 3 boss Herve Poncharal on the Sunday night after Mugello, more meetings were planned at Assen. To find out where Yamaha stands on the Crutchlow situation, we spoke to Yamaha Managing Director Lin Jarvis at Assen, and find out the current state of the negotiations.

Yamaha was keen to try to retain the services of Crutchlow, Jarvis said. “We are working with Tech 3 to try to keep Cal,” the Yamaha boss told us, while acknowledging Crutchlow’s results so far this year. “We recognize Cal’s skill, his potential, and his growth.”

Jarvis was not certain that Yamaha’s efforts would be sufficient, however. “Whether we can put together a package with Tech 3 to match his desire is hard to say,” Jarvis said. Yamaha was aware of the offers on the table from other manufacturers, and was struggling to match their terms.

When asked if Yamaha was afraid they could lose Cal Crutchlow, Jarvis was phlegmatic. “We are never afraid of things. There is no point,” he said. Asked whether Yamaha had already signed a contract with Pol Espargaro, as paddock gossip was suggesting at Assen, Jarvis declined to comment.

The ball is now in Cal Crutchlow’s court. With Yamaha apparently unable to extend their offer to match the other factories chasing the Englishman, either in financial respect or in terms of technical support, Crutchlow will have to make a decision on his future soon.

A decision which could possibly come as soon as the Sachsenring, if the more outlandish rumors doing the rounds of the paddock are to be believed.

Photo: © 2013 Scott Jones / Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved

This article was originally published on MotoMatters, and is republished here on Asphalt & Rubber with permission by the author.

  • proudAmerican

    What the heck was Tech-3 thinking when they “gave” Smith a MotoGP ride?

  • SBPilot

    They weren’t.

    Buy out Smith’s contract, keep Cal, get in Pol. Problem solved.
    Smith is not worthy of MotoGP, if he had 1 hundredth the talent of Marquez or Bradl, he would be up there with Cal, not getting beat by CRTs. He also has no personality what so ever and acts like he’s cool shit.

  • Gutterslob

    Bradley Smith at Tech 3 still remains a mystery to me. He doesn’t seem to be bringing any big sponsorship with him (correct me if I’m wrong here) and wasn’t exactly a front-runner in Moto2 either. Is his dad a friend of Herve Poncharal or something?

  • -J-

    Gotta agree with SBPilot!

    Buy out Smith, bring in Pol, raise waht ever that they’r offering Cal + support from factory!

  • TexusTim

    its just not that easy a decission…cal going to duactti is not a sure thing for his future people are throwing the ducatti ride around like it’s somthing to suceed on…that is not a given….it would seem that tech 3 just isnt about to step up..wasnt the announcment supposed to come at assen ? anyway tech 3 has espargo in the bag and there not going to lose him to a rival team so he can compete against them…do they think smith is a good trade or was he cal’s british repalcement? because something isnt making sence to me…if tech three was really trying they would just do it for christ sakes yamah has deep enough pockets so maybe the whole “push on the factory” hasnt panned out afterall…the hold up on suzuki till 2015 must have been a blow leaving him only one place to go unless yamahe is unsure at this point about rossi for 2014..what else could be holding them up ? losing cal to ducatti doesnt seem to bother them….money be dammed i think yamaha could match ducatti if thats what they wanted to only three things are possible.
    1-tech three will drop espargo and let ducatti get him……probably not.
    2- yamaha anounces rossi will retire at the end of the season…probably not. but could be waitng till after the sachsenring results maybe rossi has set that as a deadline.
    3- no deal is made for cal at yamaha and he goes to ducatti on a two year deal making sure suzuki cant get him in 2015.
    who the heck wanted suzuki to waite till 2015 ? my guess is ducatti influenced dorna to hold it up as it would throw the rider schems they have all out of kilter..the damn bike is ready for 2014 they dont need another year and a half to develope its fast now and it not even mid season ! they have the rest of this year to dial it in for 2104 thats bullcrap this is all about riders and factorys competition for them. so if this goes the way I see it ducatti will have two top riders for the masses next year cal and spies one american and one englishman and niky may be out if spies can perform this year starting at indy.that leaves innone and dovi and that gives them there 4 for 2014 and would have to only resign spies for 2015..sounds great for them right
    well there is a fourth posability yamaha could run a third bike on the factory squad and that keeps cal from ducatti’s plans…not sure if that can be done but it has been done look at honda when they had dovi ?

  • TexusTim

    o they could just let smith out of his contract as a few here suggest and I agree…that’s almost too damn simple unlees they see big things from this kid…youth is on his side and he isnt spanish or italian. cal and spies do not have years to bandy about…it’s there shot in time right now they have to make it in the nex2 to 4 years maxium.I think there both 27 or 28

  • KSW

    Maybe someone’s daddy is financially baiting the pot with $$ or a behind the scenes deal. I don’t have enough info.

    What I do know is that nice large drop of bubbly about to drip off the lip of the champagne bottle is awesome.

    OK, the new macbook pro 15″ seems to be working fine so…. Back to the update process.

  • phil

    Smith should never have got a ride. Just leave things as they are. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

  • smiler

    Misleading headline. Yamaha are making a half hearted effort to look like they are keeping Cal and not being pressured to take Pol Paella instead.
    Not he has actually won a race, though Redding was in 2nd.
    If they actually wanted to they could give Cal a factory bike in Tech 3 but he would likely embarrass Lorenzo and Rossi.

  • Jordan

    It seems the main issue holding Cal back now is the fuel load at the beginning of each race. I wonder if there is any kind of technical exchange between Tech III and Yamaha to help get Cal sorted? They appear to have done it with Jorge and now Rossi is showing improvement in setting up the M1. I know there is an infinitesimal amount of variables to setting up a MotoGP bike, but Yamaha is doing themselves no favors if they aren’t helping Cal. Jorge’s strength is indisputable, but his bid for the championship just became much more difficult and I think getting Cal up to speed with the factory bikes will be a major nuisance for HRC, especially when they show weakness in their race setup on any given Sunday. The results Cal can collect on a good day’s race this season is also helping Yamaha collect manufacturer’s points, too (not to mention outright embarrassing the satellite Hondas)

    Honestly, if I were Lin Jarvis I would sit Cal down with Yamaha corporate and explain the situation with resources at this very moment but hopefully paint a bigger picture in the near future that he will be the first pick for another seat on a true ‘factory’ bike with the perks that go along with it. Cal’s already expressed his wishes to stay with Yamaha to Japanese corporate officers, so why let this relationship go to waste? And why isn’t Valentino bringing more sponsorship attention to Yamaha?

  • Dawg

    I sympathise with Cal not having a contract yet but cannot understand the negative comments about Bradley Smith. He is a fine rider who is trying very hard out there. He is already matching the pace and beating a former World Champion who is riding a factory bike so he can’t be that bad, can he?

    As for personality, he comes across as a thoroughly nice bloke who is doing a good job.

    It his first season in MotoGP… give the guy a break.

  • Steve

    I think people are being a bit hard on Smith. In the 125’s he was the guy that people used to follow around because of his speed and race craft. In Moto2 he never had a good bike under him. It’s his first year in MotoGP and I think he is doing OK. I think he will be a slow burner and it will be year 2 and 3 when he really shows his true colours.

    As for Cal I’d stay with Tech 3 but request me assistance from Yamaha. He obviously doesn’t need a factory ride, just a touch more assistance such as getting the new fuel tank design. He would be better accepting good cash from Yamaha rather than mega cash from Audi. In the long run if he gets results the money will come.

  • shumy27

    I think the only way for now is to sign Cal for one more year,then let him choose his way at the end of ’14,together with other top riders contract end

  • TexusTim

    I think smith is a good rider..not putting him down in any way (needs to talk less in interviews) but there wasnt a good reason to bring him up other than cal making noise about going to ducatti it was tech 3s backup plan and they ran out of time so they took him because he is good,young and british..this is important for many reason…you can only harvest so many sponsors from italy and spain.
    I truly think the hold up is all about valintino…if he retires or not at the end of this year…no one can force this announcment if it is too come…so what else can tech 3 do right now?..if they give up on keeping cal he will go to duccti and esprago will come up next year…I think thats the plan for espargo anyway, its just what to do with smith and cal..of course if vali retires as he might do cal would get his ride espargo and smith in tech three…then the only thing left for silly season is nicky hayden and if he retrires, he does not have a contract for 2014..and now ducatti has pirro in the wings and possibly De Angelis.
    the hold up in all this is rossi and not even yamaha is going to push or make any statment till he is ready to decide…contracts in this case mean nothing you think yamaha would pitch any drama if rossi bowed out at the end of this year ? I think not they would make him a king ! better to retire from them with some wins than ducatti’s winless run….no one wants to say or hear it but rossi, nicky and collin are right there, no way we want to see them all go in the same season, so some backround stuff must be going on here as these guys have so much exposure for there respective country’s media and manufactor sales.

  • TexusTim

    @ KSW does it taste different on the top step than the lower ones…it must be a little sweeter…yes? best finish so far is a 4th… crashed out in the lead once.

  • fanelos

    why the f would rossi retire? yamaha should stop acting like a bunch of aholes and pay however much cal wants. if cal goes to ducati, he is done. dovi just killed himself for 2 years

  • irksome

    Crutchlow is hindered for the 1st half of a race by the high center of gravity in his non-factory spec fuel tank, so he spends the 2nd half playing catch up after he’s used up fuel/weight.

    You’ll know Yamaha is serious about keeping him if he gets the same tank as Lorenzo and Rossi are running this year.

  • L2C

    “All three factories have expressed an interest in Crutchlow, with Ducati and Yamaha the frontrunners to secure his services for next year.”

    What kind of chips has Honda placed on the table? And who are they thinking about booting off the grid to make way for Crutchlow? How much say does Honda’s satellite teams have on the issue?

  • Westward

    Smith is holding his own in his first season. The negativity is uncalled for, at least he has more of a pedigree than the likes of Abraham, we can’t all buy our way into MGP. (Btw, who’s only victory in Moto2 came from an absolute fluke of epic proportions)

    I like Cal’s chances at Ducati, he has the right attitude, and its almost Stoner like. He believes he can any bike the way it needs to be to be successful. He just needs factory resources.

  • I think to say that Bradley Smith is undeserving of a MotoGP ride is ridiculous. In Moto2, he finished in 7th and 9th positions respectively in 2011/2012 on what was possibly the most undeveloped bike on the grid. He dragged that bike kicking and screaming to a much better overall placement than it would otherwise manage. Danny Webb and Louis Rossi are currently tied for 22nd position on the same bike. So, uh, yeah. Undeserving in-friggin’-deed. (Rossi finished 4th in the Moto3 championship last year, so it’s not as though he’s a total slouch.)

    Comparing Smith to Bradl for a moment, Bradl was Moto2 world champion and he finished 8th in MotoGP last year. Bradl is currently 7th to Smith’s 11th, but they’re only 10 points apart (51 vs. 41). So, sure, Smith may not yet be up to the same level as Bradl, but he’s not ridiculously off the pace for his first season. Currently 11th. Crutchlow finished 12th in his first season in MotoGP.

  • “I like Cal’s chances at Ducati”

    Given Ducati’s long history of MotoGP suckage, you mustn’t like Cal all that much. I wouldn’t wish a Ducati factory ride on anybody for the foreseeable future. I love Ducati bikes, but their MotoGP program has been the kiss of death for a number of careers now.

  • JS

    Trane Francks, Danny KENT, Webb still contests Moto3. But your right about Bradley doing wonders on that Mistral Moto2 bike. Thoroughly beating his teammates and making that bike seem much better than it really was.

    A lot of the bittereness on this site is no doubt coming from some Americans pissed off that their rising star Ben Spies has faded so dramamctically as he has and is now consigned to finishing out his career on the Ducati. Spies had his go on the factory ride and didn’t live up to expectations. Well tough titty, get over it.

  • “Danny KENT, Webb still contests Moto3.”

    Eep. :-) I stand correct. (I recall exactly that same mix-up being done by Ian Wheeler ON THE GRID during an interview. It did not go over well.)

    Guilty for lack of attention to detail. Thanks for the correction, sire!

  • David

    If Yamaha (or other teams) has to work to keep Cal, then nobody really wants him.

    I don’t understand why, the guy is great.

  • Westward

    Comparing Smith to Bradl it a bit unfair. Bradl’s bike is essentially factory. Minus the Brembo and Ohlins with he has now.

    As for Ducati, I seem to recall Troy Bayless winning Valencia on a Ducati and Loris Capirossi finishing Second. Loris was on podium 8 times and won 3. He had more victories than Hayden, and if he wasn’t taken out at that disasterous start at Catalunya, which left him injured for Assen too, Capirossi would have won the title over Hayden in 2006.

    Capirossi shared the podium four times with Stoner in 2007 including a victory at Motegi for the third time in a row on the Ducati both the 990 and 800.

    Then there are the various podiums by Barros and Elias on Pramac Ducati’s too.

    At least they are not Kawasaki or Suzuki.

  • crshnbrn

    @ Westward

    The events of which you refer regarding Ducati occurred before Ducati’s frameless experiment and the spec-tire rule. Not to date you, I, or anyone else, but in the fast-paced world of MotoGP, I believe that would be referred to as ancient history.

  • crshnbrn

    The trick for Yamaha is to provide Crutchlow with enough go-fast parts and support that he can better everyone except for their own factory riders. I would like to see a satellite team win a race every once in a while. If there is no realistic chance for a satellite team to win a race, why do they compete? Who would want to sponsor them? Throw the underdog a bone. Just make sure there isn’t a lot of meat on it. They’re more dangerous when they are hungry.

  • “I believe that would be referred to as ancient history.”

    Indeed. The Ducati on which Capirossi finished 3rd in 2006 was by no means the same bike on which he finished out his career in 17th in 2011. The latter bike reflected a new page in Ducati history that the tifosi would sooner forget.

  • crab753

    I can sense the desperation of Cal Crutchlow and his management team. It’s easy to see why. The hoards from this years Moto 2 crop are coming. They’re fast with lots of race craft and young. Pol Espargaro with his boot is already in the door; and of course Scott Redding who I’m sure even HRC has their eye on. Rabat, Aegerter, Zarco, Luthi. Everyone of them would like a shot at a Tec 3 Yamaha ride. Cal’s best bet is to stay where he’s at and negotiate a better paycheck. As far as a Ducati factory ride – what sense does that make for Ducati? I don’t think he’s any quicker than Nick or Dovi. Maybe his relationship with Monster Energy could slide him in there.

  • Westward

    @ crshnbrn

    “I believe that would be referred to as ancient history.”

    Uhmmm, my post was in response to Trane Francks’ comment: “Given Ducati’s long history of MotoGP suckage.”

    11 years is not that long considering the competitions existence in the series. It’s not like I’m talking about the King Kenny Roberts days, the Schwantz & Rainey era, or even Doohnan.

    Lets be real. Rossi has been MotoGP longer than Ducati. Before Rossi brought Yamaha back to prominence, the tuning fork company sucked for over a decade, and Suzuki only had Schwantz (that generation’s Stoner).

    Ancient History would be more like the MV Agusta years…

  • crshnbrn

    @ Westward

    I didn’t refer to Ducati’s success that you cited as ancient history because I thought it happened that long ago. I referred to it as ancient history because the bike they are racing today is so far removed from the bike they achieved that success on.

    I rather liked seeing the little company from Italy have success competing against the large corporations from Japan, and I would like to see them have success again. Soon would be nice.

  • amiro

    right now there are only 2 personalities in grid that gets people tuned in each race.. 1st Vale and 2nd Cal… I personally don’t think Yamaha will ditch Vale for Cal cause that be bad PR for team and his still competitive and is main reason for ticket sales… Yamaha are stupid to not to want to keep the services of Cal his a fantastic racer funniest guy on pad dock and great for viewers…

    Honda should snatch-up Cal and replace Batista with him.

  • Truth

    You idiots all of you. You all talk about racers personalities as if you know them personally. As if you grab a beer together. None of you know jack!!! You ONLY know the little the media lets you see.