Auto Shows Yamaha confirms: Cal Crutchlow will dock as test driver for 2021

18:30  13 november  2020
18:30  13 november  2020 Source:   motorsport-total.com

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Cal Crutchlow hat für Vertrag als offizieller Test- und Ersatzfahrer 2021 bei Yamaha © Motorsport Images Cal Crutchlow has signed a contract as official test and replacement driver for 2021 with Yamaha

Since Friday it is official: Cal Crutchlow continues his career as an MotoGP regular driver an end next weekend. At the season finale in Portimao, he will compete for LCR-Honda for the last time. In 2021, the 35-year-old Briton will still occasionally ride a MotoGP bike, but then in his new role as the official test rider for Yamaha.

Jorge Lorenzo © GP-Fever.de Jorge Lorenzo

The commitment of Crutchlow as successor for Jorge Lorenzo was officially announced by Yamaha on Friday. For both sides, it is the resumption of a collaboration that began in 2009 with winning the World Supersport Championship and then continued through WSBK (2010) and MotoGP (2011 to 2013 at Tech-3-Yamaha).

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Cal Crutchlow © Bridgestone Cal Crutchlow

"I am extremely excited to be returning to the manufacturer I won a world title for. I rode Supersport and Superbike for them and it was they who got me into MotoGP," notes Crutchlow in conversation with 'Motorsport-Total.com'.

Crutchlow instead of Lorenzo

Crutchlow will start his work as a Yamaha test driver in the shakedown test in Sepang in February 2021. Apart from that, according to Yamaha, he will "participate in official IRTA tests and other private Yamaha tests to help Yamaha engineers in the MotoGP development program".

He made it clear that Crutchlow is interested in the Yamaha test driver project when he recently referred to his concrete discussions with the Japanese manufacturer. The Brit knows exactly what is expected of him: "You need a test driver who is fast and, last but not least, someone who is willing to be a test driver. What you don't need is someone who is committed to you for a year and then want to race. I see it exactly the same way [like Yamaha] and understand it completely. "

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With this, Crutchlow is alluding to Lorenzo, whose time as a Yamaha test driver comes to an end after a year. "Of course we had planned a strong program with Jorge for this year and were hoping for one," says Yamaha race director Lin Jarvis.

And Jarvis explains why things turned out differently than planned with Lorenzo in the end: "Unfortunately, our works team had to stop the plans early when the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in March and affected the year 2020. It is unfortunate that we are not in the Were able to pull through our testing program to achieve our goals. "

Wildcard use for Crutchlow "possible"

As far as Crutchlow is concerned, a wildcard use in a race according to Yamaha is "possible if this is considered beneficial to the test program". Apart from that, the Briton coming from LCR-Honda "has also indicated that he will be available as a substitute rider in the unfortunate event that one of Yamaha's MotoGP riders misses a Grand Prix due to illness or injury." Commenting on Crutchlow's signing,

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Yamaha race director Jarvis said: "I remember Cal's first visit to the Yamaha motorsport department. It was many years ago. He came back as a brand new Supersport World Champion and I remember what he was Expressed interest in riding MotoGP in the future. "

"After initially going to the Superbike World Championship," Jarvis recalls, "he spent three years with us while riding for Tech-3-Yamaha, and then gained another seven years of experience while working for two of ours Main opponent drove (Ducati and Honda; editor's note). This huge wealth of experience combined with Cal's honest approach will certainly help us immensely when we strive next year to have our YZR-M1 bikes as part of a complete test program improve."

Crutchlow had been associated with Aprilia for months long before he actually spoke to Yamaha. But the Briton turned down the possibility of racing there instead of Andrea Iannone in the MotoGP season 2021, even before

Iannone's suspension was extended to a maximum of four years this week. "They wanted me to drive for them," Crutchlow confirms in an interview with 'Motorsport-Total.com' and continues: "We had spoken since March, but they wanted to wait for Andrea. I didn't want to wait for Andrea. So, even before Andreas was announced, I said to them that I was no longer interested. "

While Crutchlow gave Aprilia a rejection, a new opportunity could arise there for Jorge Lorenzo. Lin Jarvis said of the Spaniard, who was three times MotoGP World Champion with Yamaha: "We wish Jorge all the best in his future endeavors. And we thank him for his many years of working with Yamaha."

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