MotoGP: Cal Crutchlow to make wildcard appearance at Motegi

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Cal Crutchlow will make his return to the MotoGP grid later this season as a wildcard entrant at the Japanese Grand Prix in Motegi.

Yamaha’s test rider will race under the Yamalube RS4GP Racing Team banner on the weekend of September 29 – October 1. Crutchlow will be collecting valuable data and testing new parts across the weekend – something that hasn’t been easy for Yamaha to do this year due to the Japanese manufacturer not having a satellite team.

The Brit retired at the end of the 2020 season but has since made 10 appearances as a replacement rider: four during the 2021 season as a stand-in for the injured Franco Morbidelli at Petronas Yamaha, and then six last year following Andrea Dovizioso’s retirement.

“I’m happy to have the chance to race at Motegi with the Yamalube RS4GP Racing Team,” Crutchlow said. “As Yamaha’s official test rider, I do all I can to help develop the M1. The GP in Japan is a good opportunity to test prototype items in a race setting.

“I look forward to working with the Yamalube RS4GP Racing Team, starting with the upcoming test in August. I’m sure we’ll have a great time together. We will work hard to collect as much valuable information for Yamaha as possible.”

Yamalube RS4GP Racing Team M1

2023 has proven to be an extremely difficult year for Yamaha. Like fellow Japanese manufacturer, Honda, Yamaha have been unable to put a package together which is capable of competing for victories and podiums against Ducati and KTM.

Fabio Quartararo is ninth in the championship after the opening eight rounds, securing just one Grand Prix podium and one Sprint Race podium so far. The 2021 world champion crashed out of the last race, held at Assen.

Meanwhile, Morbidelli is 11th overall after taking a best result of fourth in the rain-affected Argentine Grand Prix. The Italian has finished outside of the top 10 in three of this year’s Grand Prix races.

Yamaha haven’t won a race in MotoGP since Quartararo’s success at the Sachsenring in June 2022.