MotoGP: Cal Crutchlow confirmed as Yamaha's 2021 test rider
Yamaha has confirmed that Cal Crutchlow will become their official MotoGP test rider next year.
Crutchlow was left without a ride for next year after losing his spot within the LCR Honda team to Alex Marquez. With limited options available to him, Aprilia being the only clear-cut option, the Brit has opted for a test rider role with Yamaha.
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The three-time MotoGP race winner will jump on the M1 for the first time in Maylaysia at the shakedown test. Crutchlow will also take part in Official IRTA Tests and other private Yamaha tests.
Yamaha and Crutchlow have a good relationship, having worked together previously in MotoGP, World Superbike (WSB) and World Supersport (WSS). Crutchlow won the 2009 WSS before moving up to the official WSB Yamaha team. During his time there he secured 10 podiums, including three victories.
Crutchlow switched to MotoGP in 2011 after signing for the Satellite Yamaha team at that time, Tech3. He secured a best finish of second, alongside four further podiums, during his three-year stint with the team.
"First and foremost, I would like to say 'welcome back' to Cal," Yamaha Managing Director Lin Jarvis said. "I still remember Cal’s first visit to YMR many years ago as fresh World Supersport Champion and recall he expressed his desire to move onwards and upwards to MotoGP in the future.
"His 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 programme next year."
Crutchlow's new role means that Jorge Lorenzo will depart the team following a disruptive year in the test rider role this season.
"Of course, we had planned and hoped for a strong programme this year with Jorge," Jarvis added. "Unfortunately, our Factory Test Team soon had to put their plans on hold as the Covid-19 pandemic started and continued to influence 2020 from March onwards.
"It’s regrettable that we have not been able to carry out our testing programme and realize our goals. We wish Jorge all the best in his future endeavours, and we thank him for his many years of collaboration with Yamaha."
Yamaha has stated that wildcard appearances may be an option for Crutchlow next year "if deemed beneficial to the testing programme." Crutchlow has also confirmed his availability for selection as replacement rider should one of Yamaha's MotoGP riders be unable to compete.