Cal Crutchlow to make Yamaha 1000cc debut in Sepang

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British rider Cal Crutchlow will make his debut on Yamaha’s new 1000cc MotoGP bike at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia tomorrow (Monday).

Crutchlow will ride in place of injured Ben Spies, who had to withdraw from the test and today’s Sepang MotoGP race after two heavy crashes in yesterday's practice and qualifying sessions.

A rib injury Spies picked up in a high speed qualifying crash in Phillip Island eight days ago is still causing him severe pain and discomfort.

He initially intended to start the 20-lap race from 16th on the grid but after consultations with his team, he decided to withdraw.

That decision meant Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team rider Crutchlow was informed of the plan to give him a suprrise 1000cc debut by Yamaha management and his French team boss Herve Poncharal in the Sepang paddock this morning.

Crutchlow was due to ride the new YZR-M1 in Valencia on November 8 and 9 but it was rumoured prior to the start of the Sepang race that he might be drafted into tomorrow’s test.

With former world champion Jorge Lorenzo unable to race or test in Malaysia after he suffered a nasty left hand injury in Phillip Island last weekend, many expected Crutchlow to join Spies.

But Yamaha chose to use test and development rider Katsuyuki Nakasuga with the Texan before the 2009 World Superbike champion's withdrawal last night.

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt