until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League


Crutchlow could be Yamaha’s missing piece, say riders

by Simon Patterson
3 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Maverick Vinales says that the addition of Cal Crutchlow to the Yamaha MotoGP set-up in 2021 as a test rider would be a huge benefit to the camp, with the Spaniard seeing the Brit’s reputation for being blunt as a potential way out of Yamaha’s current mess.

Yamaha has been struggling practically since Vinales joined the Iwata manufacturer in 2017 to consistently find rear grip with the M1, especially when track conditions are less than optimal.

The absence of Marc Marquez in the 2020 title race has brought the problem to a head, with Vinales’ inconsistency all but ruling him out of the chance to fight for the title.Francesco Bagnaia, Maverick Vinales, Cal Crutchlow, MotoGP 2020

But should Crutchlow sign up to replace Jorge Lorenzo as Yamaha’s test rider for 2021, something first reported by The Race earlier this week, then Vinales is confident it can only aid him.

“It will be very important if we can have Cal, because he is direct with his comments,” Vinales said. “If he has something bad to say about you, he will say it. He’ll tell you if it works or not work – not in five months, but in a day.

“Cal can make a lot of improvements to the bike. I can see how much rear grip the Honda has, and if he can help us to find some it will be helpful.

“On his day he is very hard to beat, he can bring a lot of good information, and I like his character. He is direct, and that is what we need.”

Vinales’ 2021 team-mate and current satellite Yamaha rider Fabio Quartararo is in agreement, too, taking the opportunity to both praise Crutchlow’s extensive development skills and to take an apparent swipe at current factory test rider Lorenzo, so has in 2020 completed only three days riding 2019-spec machinery despite his reported million Euro paycheque.

Cal Crutchlow, Fabio Quartararo, MotoGP 2020

“I think this is something really important for us,” Quartararo said when asked about Crutchlow joining the project. “This year with the test rider we didn’t do many laps, it would be great to have, like all the manufacturers, a rider who really wants to ride.

“That’s something missing right now. Cal is on a Honda and he has rode the Yamaha and the Ducati, so there’s a great opportunity for Yamaha.”

Crutchlow spoke publicly for the first time today about his likely new job, admitting that all but the final steps have been agreed in his return to the manufacturer where he made his MotoGP debut in 2011 (below).

Turning down the chance to remain on the MotoGP grid full-time next year (although his Yamaha deal should see him racing as a wildcard), Crutchlow says that he’s confident that he’s doing something that will motivate him.

Cal Crutchlow, Tech3 Yamaha, MotoGP 2011

“I’m in very far discussions with Yamaha and in the very near future we’ll come to an agreement that we’re both happy with,” Crutchlow said. “It’s a project that I’m very interested in, that I think would suit me well, and with my knowledge of MotoGP and my experience I should be able to work well with them.

“I informed Aprilia that I didn’t want to do that project with them, and that I wouldn’t be following up with them. I have my own reasons, but they’re probably not ones to be discussed right now.

“You have to go with your heart, and I believe I made the correct decision.”

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