At the end of the 2020 MotoGP season, Cal Crutchlow found himself ride-less. To make room for Pol Espargaró in Repsol Honda, HRC sent Alex Marquez down to the LCR Honda team for the 2021 season. Unfortunately, the game of musical chair left Crutchlow without a seat, so he returned to Yamaha as an official test rider in 2021.
The British rider started his MotoGP career with the bLU cRU in 2011, impressing on the Tech 3 Yamaha satellite squad before moving to Ducati in 2014 and on LCR Honda in 2015. As a test rider for Iwata, Crutchlow already had wildcard opportunities on the table. However, with Franco Morbidelli requiring knee surgery in June, 2021, Crutchlow seemed like the perfect substitute for the Petronas Yamaha SRT rider.
When the MotoGP paddock returns to the Red Bull Ring after a five-week long summer break, the Brit will fly the Petronas flag for both the Austrian rounds on August 6-8 and August 13-15, 2021. Two weeks later, Crutchlow will defend his home turf in the British Grand Prix at Silverstone on August 27-29, 2021.
“It’s great to be back riding with Yamaha this year as the official test rider and to be able to step in when needed is good for all parties,” proclaimed Crutchlow. “I’m looking forward to riding for Petronas Yamaha SRT in the three Grands Prix. Obviously, it’s not in the best circumstances and I wish Franco a good recovery, I hope he comes back strongly after the knee surgery. I’m sure he will because he’s been riding fantastically over the last two years.”
With both Crutchlow and Dani Pedrosa returning to the grid in Austria, the MotoGP fandom is going to party like it’s 2012. Similar to Pedrosa’s wildcard appearance for KTM, Yamaha is prioritizing data collection in Crutchlow’s next three races.
“Cal will be able to rack up some good mileage on our M1, which should aid him with his testing and development work for Yamaha,” noted Petronas Yamaha SRT Principle Razlan Razali. “Cal will replace Franco for the next three races and we have no real targets for him in terms of results. We will do all we can to help support him and make him feel comfortable in the team.”