LESMO, Italy – Yamaha Motor Co. Ltd. and Yamaha Motor Racing have announced that Cal Crutchlow will join the Yamaha Factory Racing Test Team for the upcoming MotoGP season.
Beginning with the MotoGP shakedown test, scheduled in Sepang, Malaysia, from Feb. 14-16, Crutchlow will ride the YZR-M1. He will also take part in Official IRTA Tests and other private Yamaha tests, with the aim to help Yamaha‘s engineers with the MotoGP development program.
Crutchlow‘s 10 years of experience in MotoGP, riding for three different manufacturers, made him an ideal candidate for the job in Yamaha’s view. He replaces Jorge Lorenzo in the test rider role.
“First and foremost, I would like to say ‘welcome back’ to Cal,” noted team managing director Lin Jarvis. “I still remember Cal‘s first visit to YMR many years ago as a fresh World Supersport Champion and recall [that] he expressed his desire to move onwards and upwards to MotoGP in the future. After his 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 program next year.
“Of course, we had planned and hoped for a strong program this year with Jorge. Unfortunately, our Factory Test Team had to put their plans on hold as the Covid-19 pandemic started and continued to influence 2020 from March on,” Jarvis added. “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 going forward, and we thank him for his many years of collaboration with Yamaha.”
A Wild Card appearance is possible if deemed beneficial to the testing program, and Crutchlow has also confirmed his availability for selection as a replacement rider in the case of one of Yamaha‘s MotoGP riders having to miss a Grand Prix due to illness or injury.
Crutchlow and Yamaha go a long way back. The Briton won the 2009 World Supersport Championship with Yamaha. He then moved up to the World Superbike Championship the following year, scoring 10 podiums – including three wins – to finish fifth in the standings.
This success opened up an opportunity for Crutchlow to make his MotoGP debut in 2011 with Yamaha‘s satellite team at the time, Monster Energy Yamaha Tech3, where he gained experience for the first three years of his now 10-year-long MotoGP career.