Crutchlow Signs Two Year MotoGP Deal With Monster Tech 3 Yamaha

Motorcycle racing paddocks have never been good at keeping secrets, but this year seems to be particularly bad. As predicted by on Thursday, the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha team have confirmed that Cal Crutchlow will be riding their MotoGP bike next year. Crutchlow and Tech 3 have agreed a two-year deal for 2011 and 2012, giving Crutchlow a chance to get accustomed to MotoGP machinery without the immediate pressure to perform. The switch back to 1000cc for 2012 should also make Crutchlow's job in his second year a little bit easier, the bikes expected to be a little more like the Sterilgarda Yamaha World Superbike he has raced this season.

Below is the press release from Tech 3:

Cal Crutchlow joins Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team

The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team is delighted to announce the signing of British rider Cal Crutchlow to contest the MotoGP world championship for the next two years.

Crutchlow will extend his successful collaboration with Yamaha having won the World Supersport championship at the first attempt in 2009 with five victories and ten pole positions.

Crutchlow has demonstrated his world-class pedigree again in 2010 after a series of blisteringly fast performances in World Superbikes on board Yamaha's YZF-R1 machine.

He has claimed five pole positions so far in 2010 but the highlight of his impressive campaign was undoubtedly a majestic doub le victory in his home race at Silverstone in early August.

Cal Crutchlow

"It is hard for me to explain how excited I am about the prospect of riding in MotoGP next season with the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team. Joining MotoGP is like a dream come true for me, and I want to thank Yamaha and Herve Poncharal for giving me such a wonderful opportunity. Yamaha have been fantastic to me and without their incredible support I wouldn't be where I am today. And I'm really looking forward to working with the Tech 3 Team. They are a very professional team with a lot of experience and I'm sure they will be able to help me develop even more as a rider. I am under no illusions about how difficult this challenge will be. But I have always loved a challenge and I'm relishing this one. To think I will be racing against the likes of Valentino Rossi, who I grew up being a massive fan of, is a really ex citing prospect and I can't wait for 2011."

Herve Poncharal – Team Manager

"I am delighted that a rider of Cal's calibre will ride for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team. He has shown with his World Supersport success in 2009 and with a series of outstanding performances in World Superbikes this year what an exciting prospect he is for the future. I think he is ready to test himself against the very best in the world and I'm really looking forward to working with him. He is a very talented rider and he has an unbelievable desire to succeed. Ben has proven this year that with talent, hard work and determination you can make a successful switch from World Superbikes to MotoGP. I have no doubt that Cal has the potential to emulate Ben's success in the future. I am sure the combination of Cal, Yamaha and Tech 3 will be a strong one and I can't wait to start this exciting new ad venture in our history."

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So with Crutchlow now back-filling Ben Spies spot at Tech3, and Melandri subsequently back-filling his spot at Sterilgarda Yamaha WSBK, (and vacating the Gresini Spot) does this mean that Dovi will find himself on the Gresini squad soon?

...I would say it's a mistake to sign a rookie to a multi-year contract in MotoGP. The occasional exception (-al rider, e.g. Spies) notwithstanding. But I would not compare Crutchlow to Spies.

One senses Dorna's hand here perhaps, as it's likely they very much wanted a British rider in MotoGP.

I agree with both points.

I think it is good to have the (potential) best rider from a country represented in MotoGP. It is good to see a Brit in the mix.

Cal seems to have good potential. I hope he can get it together and represent his country well. Only time will tell if he is as good as Spies (not many are).

From a rookie perspective I wouldn't want to sign for less than two. It takes some time to get up to speed and I'd want as much time as possible to give it a good go. Silly season starts early and if you don't look pretty promising in the first 6 races you could write off your career. If he's a Yamaha contract rider I'm sure they can find a spot for him elsewhere if he never catches on by the end of the year.

What could be interesting from a rider and machine development perspective is to have a seat in a team like Tech 3 be filled by committee. And then have these strictly non-full time riders be allowed to test the bikes at a local factory test bed. They could get up to speed on the bikes, compete in up to a set number of races per year (ex 3-5) and the factories could get some extra research done. Riders from Moto2, supersport, superbike and domestic series could all get a crack at showing their stuff. It could put some pressure on the permanent riders to not get outraced by a temp and maybe promote some churn in the field. Maybe Current wild card rules make accommodations for such scenarios. But if there were a dedicated seat in a satellite team I think it would be a notable point of interest. And if riders were scheduled to compete it more than 1 race it would be something to follow and compare throughout the season.

Crutchlow is being signed by Poncharal next year, not by Yamaha. Yamaha will not be paying for a rider in Tech 3 next year, as part of their cost-cutting program. So the whole thing has to come out of Poncharal's own budget. 

Any indications from Poncheral of his plans for 2012? CRT using his Mistral as a base? Will his close technical arrangement with Yamaha remain in 2011? They seemed to make a big deal about the contract as keeping him in the Yamaha family and noted it as evidence that they are maintaining a development track for up and coming riders. If Yamaha are not contributing anything and Poncheral could switch to using an Aprilia engine in 2012 it doesn't sound like Yamaha's press release was very honest about their plans.

What is ironic about Poncharal's position is that he is a big supporter of the CRT rules, but has no intention whatsoever of becoming a CRT team. If he can, he'll be staying as a satellite Yamaha team. 

I have a feeling that he currently has a good thing going with Yamaha so there is no need to sour the deal or take risks with the new formula. If he has a good Moto2 base to build from and the CRT teams become competitive he'll be in an excellent bargaining position when it comes to leasing bikes from Yamaha.

I can imagine the quote, 'We have no interest in building a CRT machine'...while somewhere in Guy Coulon's notebook is a sketch of the Mistral 1000, maybe even a frame with clearly non-CBR600 engine mounting points somewhere in the workshop.

How come this type of information isn't specified in the press release. The wording certainly appears to indicate Crutchlow is joining Yamaha??

At any rate, I'm guessing this means he won't get a Valencia wild card barring some sponser stepping up and footing the bill.

Or even if he'll get a rookie test? We know Ben didn't get one and Herve is no supporter of them.

It wasn't that he was denied a chance of a rookie test. Poncheral just put backed up his words with actions (and saved some dough) by not having an additional test for him. I think it was a wise move as Spies likely didn't suffer from the lack of the extra few days. But if Crutchlow doesn't have a wildcard at Valencia it may be in his favor to have an additional chance to get used to the bike. Spies had ridden a motoGP bike even before his wildcard opportunity with Yamaha. If Crutchlow can test at Valencia and get used to the bike well enough, maybe his rookie chance will be skipped as well.

clearly toseland has struggled in various arenas, there are rumors of him to bmw superbike to replace zaus. hopefully cal can figure things out enough to have some good placings.