Crutchlow Closing In On Tech 3 Deal

The return of a British MotoGP draws ever nearer. Cal Crutchlow has been linked to a MotoGP ride for several months now, but the Englishman now looks set to finalize the deal in the next couple of weeks, with an announcement possibly coming as early as this weekend at Misano. Talks are expected to take place here in Misano to settle the last few details with Yamaha bosses, but a deal now looks to be certain.

Crutchlow is so sure of securing the deal that he has broken off talks with World Superbike teams, and is focused on switching to MotoGP with the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha squad, MotoMatters.com understands. An announcement by the Sterilgarda Yamaha rider is now merely a formality.

Crutchlow has made no secret of his desire to move up to MotoGP. The Englishman came close to signing a Moto2 deal with Fausto Gresini in the middle of last year, while Crutchlow was still racing World Supersport, but Yamaha held him to the second year of his two-year deal, which saw Crutchlow join the Sterilgarda Yamaha team in World Superbikes. Crutchlow has an option to stay with Yamaha's WSBK squad, but has decided to turn it down for a shot in MotoGP with Tech 3.

The risk for Crutchlow is embodied by his current Sterilgarda Yamaha teammate. James Toseland left the World Superbike paddock for a stint in the Tech 3 team, and after a stunning start, Toseland's progress seemed to stall on the MotoGP bike. The Yorkshireman made a reluctant return to World Superbikes with the Yamaha factory squad, and has taken his time to adapt back to WSBK machinery.

Crutchlow also has big boots to fill. The Englishman will take the place of Ben Spies, who is leaving the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha team to move up to the factory squad for 2011. Spies has exceeded Yamaha's expectations of his performance, scoring two podiums and a pole after just 11 races in the series. Crutchlow would not be expected to match that level of performance, but he will certainly be under pressure to exceed the results of James Toseland.

Yamaha manager Lin Jarvis told Motorcycle News earlier this week that he believed that Crutchlow would be better off spending another year in World Superbikes. The pressure is on for Crutchlow to prove him wrong.

Back to top

Comments

The sooner the better.Comparisons with JT's sojourn in GP do not hold water.
I take nothing away from his two SBK titles.Job done and good on him.However,the comparison is a little skew.The dominant 999 vs Laconi and the all conquering Ten Kate Honda next up.
Ben won it last year on guts and brilliance and on an inferior machine,by and large.
Hard act to follow,but should Cal go to Tech 3...correct one and all the best.

with Lin Jarvis. Had Cal's year in WSBK up till now been nearer to the level of Spies performance last year I would say good move but, unless he really impresses on the Tech 3 bike next year I can see it doing his career more harm than good...

Some other bloke penned a book entitled 'What if I never tried it'...Hold your breath !

I agree too. Cal should play it out another year in World Superbike. Providing he stays on his current form, I don't see why he wouldn't be offered a MotoGP seat in 2012.

By going in 2011, he would have to adjust his riding style for the 800s only to have to adjust again for the 1000cc bikes in 2012. If he went in 2012, he'd be more equal to all the other riders in that they would all be adjusting to the new displacement increases.

I suppose the advantage of going in 2011 is to acclimate to the Bridgestone tires and the tracks, but a poor season in 2011 could just as well relegate him back to Superbikes if he doesn't perform to expectations.

To turn down an opportunity to race in the premier class would be really really dumb. The bikes are similiar only in that they have two wheels. If he does just average in his first year like Marco Simonchelli (sp?) he will be set to excel in his second year and maybe even secure a factory ride if he shows great potential - which I believe he has.

Go get um Cal.

I don't believe Cal deserves to be in MotoGP given his performance this season, but MotoGP is about lap times so if he can do the times, he is as good as anyone else.

I just wish TV contracts weren't the motivation behind his jump to MotoGP.

I also think that Colin and Cal is going to be a disaster. One laid-back Texan who's a bit sensitive to aggression from his teammate. One tightly-wound Briton who pursues his unlimited ambition with casual disregard for everything and everyone (imo).

The only time Colin has shown any ill will toward his teammate in GPs was JT and that was for stealing his crew chief and not for "aggression".

I think Cal has to have a veteran GP rider in his team to help him along and Colin fits the bill. Colin is comfortable in his role and should provide a good base line for Cal. As long as Cal doesn't throw him under the bus on TV like he did JT this year or try to undermine Colin's side of the garage like JT than I don't see a problem. The match up should benefit Cal like it has Spies this year. Although I don't expect Cal to get any where near Spies results.

I don't think Cal has done enough to warrant a GP offer. When did 2 WSBK victories get you a full time GP ride?

But if it's on the table than he should jump all over it. He will have a veteran teammate in Colin who should help him along. That would be much better than another inexperience rider who will be more focused trying to find their way and beating him.

Cal has shown that he is fast but he hasn't shown to be consistent in WSBK or been able to work the bike out to his liking for over half a year. But he's still learning and getting better so we'll have to see how it turns out. Best of luck to him - the more the merrier!

If not Cal then who else? He is young, has great natural talent, has won a WSS championship (Vermi also was a WSS Champion and he got a shot at GP), he has the right passport, is a Yamaha man, and has shown he can ride a superbike incredibly fast (he's set some fast poles this year). His downside is of course his inconsistency, but I feel he has been improving over the year. I think his biggest mistake was not taking the Yamaha replacement ride, but that could be argued either way.

What other options does Tech3/Yamaha have? Elias? He's rumored to be going to Suzuki. Melandri? He's been on a downward slide for a few years now. Who from Moto2? Iannone, has been the only stand out besides Elias, he certainly should get a test ride to see what he can do, but it would be a risk to sign him for a full time. No one else in Moto2 stands out. WSBK is dominated by veterans and Rea has already decided he will stay in WSBK another year. So really Cal is the right choice.

You are exactly right, Boots.  The decision is between Yamaha and Herve Poncharal, because the seat being vacated is the Yamaha-funded one.  Assuming that relationship is to continue, who else would Yamaha be willing to subsidize?

Also, do not forget that Crutchlow already has a relationship with Monster...  you know, the team's actual sponsor.

Poncharal has said that he is not interested in Elias, and could not possibly have enough interest in Iannone or Melandri to override the wishes of his manufacturer and title sponsor and/or flip Edwards back to the Yamaha seat in an attempt to fund the open seat for someone completely outside the "family".

It may not be perfect, but it's really not a bad deal for all involved.

he'll have to take the motogp ride, ready or not, hopefully he will be able to adjust or they will give him enough time to adjust. look at colin edwards, I dont think he has ever been happy with motogp. of course toseland never really did any thing in moto gp. of all the people who move up to motogp, very few ever move up to the front. ben spies is simply amazing and clearly he knows how to set up a motorcycle and translate information to the crew chief

That Tech 3 deal did not work out so well for him. Rossi does not like his teammate and maintains a wall. It was more than a cold war that caused JT to flounder in GP. I think Lin Jarvis is right, wait a year. Show us you can win on the Sterilgarda ride, consistently, then move on up. He is not the only fast guy in the paddock. There are a couple lads in Moto2 that are more deserving in my opinion. Hell, there are a couple guys in MotoGP already that are deserving of that ride; it would be like moving from a model T to a real Shelby Cobra for them.

I'm sure Crutchlow is a great guy and having a brit in the field again would be nice but Cal is not ready and it's not certain he ever will be.

If an argument can be made that he should be given the chance then the same should be said about Max, J.Rea and a few others. He's no better than Kalio and Mika has shown how hard the class really is.

If it's your goal to race against the best and the opportunity presents itself, well, you need to take it. Herve wants him, plus he'll be Yamaha contracted, so he's going to be well supported. The learning curve will be very steep, though.

Ben Spies was a good estimate for a quality GP rider due to the fact that he successfuly proved he could: A.) learn a new bike (to everyone) quickly and adapt his riding style to it, B.) understand the details and limits of new tires by the first race, C.) figure out new tracks and their specifics effortlessly, and D.) he crashes infrequently.

I agree that Cal should go now since it is offered, and time-is-a-wasting. However, he is a crasher on familiar circuits, who has a difficult time adapting to the bike since it can't be changed to his style appearantly, and only won a round at his home race where Ben won at numerous venues. I am a Spies fan, but Dorna's lust to keep the BBC contract and bring on a UK rider is undeniabe.

However, I would find it more entertaining seeing Cal try hard and progress than watching Aleix, Barbera, and Abraham parade around.

Where have you heard RdP wanted to leave LCR (unless it was a factory Honda, which was never an option)? Lucio has been thrilled with RdP's performance this year (as well he should be), and is not letting him go under any circumstances...

Not really sure where you're coming from with the Tech3 thing.

No! Please, not a return to the cloying, sycophantic coverage JT got from the BBC team. It was totally embarrassing. The idea seems to be that British fans need a British rider - at any cost. We don't. And so, on the BBC we will have wall to wall interviews at each event in which he's certain to get a podium at least, if not win it outright. Followed by the inevitable underachievement in the race. Followed by the interminable excuses and the promise that next race it will all be different. Ad nauseum. And we can look forward to probably two years of that from the BBC!

If Lin Jarvis reckons he's not ready, he's not ready! End of. And all the wishful thinking in the world isn't going to change that. Cal Crutchlow is no Ben Spies, and never will be. So he is destined to be an also-ran, regardless of how much the BBC hype him up.

Cal needs to make the move to MotoGP as soon as possible. Makes no sense for him to ride another year in WSBK is he wants to go MotoGP racing.

Yamaha seems to think he has the tools to be sucessful. And I for one am not going to assume I know more than Yamaha Racing when it comes to evaluating rider talent.

I think the Yamaha R1 is probably not the best kit in the WSBK paddock. Last years win might be chaulked up to the rider more than the bike.

They need to get Cal a wildcard ride this year to help him along. Hopefully they will pair him with a good crew chief. Having Colin with him in 2011 will also be a great benifit to Mr. Crutchlow.

Yamaha has done pretty good in my opinion choosing rider talent and I expect they have reason to pick Cal besides Dorna wanting a UK rider or the BBC wanting someone to fuss over.

Lin Jarvis is responsible for Yamaha racing, ehhh? If he says the boy is not ready....well is that not like Yamaha saying it?

He will struggle in GP, and I expect he will struggle worse than James Toseland did. At least James had some World Championships to show and a lot of victories. (FWIW, I still think JT has the talent to be good in GP, but I doubt he will get a chance to prove it again. Unless, he can string together a couple more WSBK championships in quick order. I also think his confidence has taken a tremendous beating.) I know the Brit's are quite proud of their national racing series; and it is a treasure. But do you really think Crutchlow is going to parlay, from this WSBK experience, into a successful GP career?

Is that a pig with wings I see?