No factory Yamaha future for Cal Crutchlow

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Cal Crutchlow’s ambitions to be a factory Yamaha rider in MotoGP in the future appear to have all but vanished, with the Japanese factory reluctant to guarantee him a works YZR-M1 in 2015.

The British rider told Yamaha management in meetings during the recent Assen round that he is willing to stay in the satellite Monster Yamaha Tech 3 squad for 2014, so long as he is assured of a move to the factory squad for 2015.

At the end of next season both Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi will be out of contract, but despite a series of scintillating performances in Herve Poncharal’s French-based Tech 3 squad this season, Yamaha is currently refusing to meet his requests.

Having raced to three podiums so far this season and established himself as easily the leading non-factory rider in MotoGP, Crutchlow has made no secret of his desire to remain with Yamaha, who he has ridden for since collecting the 2009 World Supersport crown on an R6.

As the fastest rider out of contract for 2014, Crutchlow’s future has been the subject of intense speculation even before the current season started under the Qatar floodlights in early April.

He has been in lengthy talks with Yamaha, Tech 3, Monster and Dorna about an extension to his current contract, but with an improved technical and financial package.

Ducati is also understood to be finalising a proposal to present to Crutchlow and his manager Bob Moore as the Bologna factory is keen to entice him onto a Desmosedici.

But it seems Crutchlow’s dream of being a factory Yamaha rider will never be realised and he told MCN: “At the end of the day what Yamaha can offer me at the moment isn’t what I am looking for. I think I deserve more and I have openly said to Yamaha that I want to stay and that I want to do a two-year deal. 

The first year would be staying at Tech 3 and the second year in the factory team but they can’t guarantee me that. Lin Jarvis (Yamaha boss) has said that if Jorge and Valentino want to stay then there is no room for me in Yamaha in 2015. They would offer me a one-year contract but they have said if they can keep Jorge and Valentino in Yamaha in 2015 they will be doing that and there is no room for me.

I am still in the same situation of being in a satellite team and in my opinion not necessarily getting what I deserve. They say they want to keep me for next year and they are trying to put something to me, but that is the same as what I have got this year. So I will be in the same situation next year if the top four wanted to stay.

Herve agrees with me 100% about the whole situation. He really wants to keep me and I'd love to stay but he totally understands and would fully support me if I felt I had to leave because he doesn't think it is the correct decision for Yamaha to let me go."

Crutchlow denied recent gossip on social media sites that he was could sign a Ducati contract during this weekend’s German Grand Prix at the Sachsenring.

It is no secret that negotiations have started again with Ducati, despite a breakdown in talks that took place at this time a year ago when Crutchlow was really starting to emerge as a big threat to the established elite in MotoGP.

The 27-year-old, who became the first British rider in 12 years to claim a premier class pole position when he topped qualifying in Assen, added: “We are speaking to Ducati but it is no more than general talk. They haven’t confirmed what is going on for next season apart from Andrea (Dovizioso) and maybe there is no room in Ducati next year.

Nobody has confirmed that anybody is leaving. But I am interested in going to a factory that is behind me 100%. At the moment things are tough for Andrea and Nicky (Hayden) but that doesn’t mean it won’t get better and they won’t put 100% in and things could change in the future. It is clear we are going to speak to everybody. If Yamaha have told me there is no space for me in 2015 then I am only right to speak to other people.

People seem to forget though when telling me not to move to another factory or team is that Yamaha already has two riders in Tech 3 next year. They have a contract signed with Bradley (Smith) and they have signed Pol (Espargaro).”

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt