until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League


Crutchlow set for Vinales’ seat, Dixon could get MotoGP debut

by Simon Patterson
2 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Cal Crutchlow is set to ride for the factory Yamaha team at the British Grand Prix, and Jake Dixon will make his MotoGP debut in his place when seats are reshuffled in the wake of Maverick Vinales’ imminent permanent departure.

Vinales’ bombshell suspension from the team for this weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix was announced yesterday, along with Yamaha’s claims that he deliberately attempted to destroy the engine of his M1 during last weekend’s Styrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring.

Aug 12 : Why Yamaha has suspended Vinales

Already set to leave the team at the end of the 2021 season after both parties announced an early exit from a two-year deal that ran through 2022, he hasn’t been replaced this weekend at the Austrian race with Fabio Quartararo running as a one-bike team.

Given the certainty of Yamaha’s statement regarding its claims about last weekend, it looks like Vinales’ suspension will be made permanent in the coming days.

Yamaha test rider Crutchlow is already in attendance at the event, riding his second race for satellite team Petronas SRT in place of the injured Franco Morbidelli, who underwent extensive knee reconstruction surgery last month and still faces weeks of rehabilitation before he returns to action.

Originally drafted in to replace the Italian for two races in Austria plus his home race at Silverstone, Crutchlow then looked set to spend even longer with the Malaysian team as Morbidelli’s recovery continues, with the Brit believed to be also set to ride at least at the Aragon Grand Prix next month.

However, the Vinales news has upset those plans – and from the British Grand Prix onwards, Crutchlow looks set to instead join the factory team alongside Quartararo, potentially finishing out the remainder of the 2021 season alongside the championship leader.

According to The Race’s paddock sources, that leaves a seat at Petronas Yamaha for Moto2 rider Dixon to take over for his home race.

Struggling in the opening half of the championship thanks to a severe wrist injury suffered at the end of 2020, any Moto2 championship challenge from the British rider is long gone – opening the door for the team to temporarily promote him to join the retiring Valentino Rossi at Silverstone.

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