Cal Crutchlow Pens Two-Year Deal With Ducati

The first piece in MotoGP's 2014 silly season has finally moved. Today, news broke via several different channels that Cal Crutchlow has signed a two-year deal with Ducati to join the factory team. Crutchlow will leave the Tech 3 Yamaha squad at the end of the season and join his former Tech 3 teammate Andrea Dovizioso at the factory Ducati squad.

Speculation over Crutchlow's future has been rife for a long time, and started once reports emerged after Qatar that Yamaha had already signed Pol Espargaro to take one of the seats in the Tech 3 Yamaha garage in 2014. With Bradley Smith on a two-year deal with the French Yamaha squad, there seemed to be no room for Crutchlow in the team. A long and drawn out process then took place, with Ducati trying to tempt Crutchlow to the factory team, Yamaha trying to persuade Crutchlow to stay at Tech 3, and Honda talking to the Englishman about taking the LCR Honda of Stefan Bradl.

Though Crutchlow stated repeatedly in public that he wished to remain with Yamaha, the Englishman also made no secret of his desire for a factory bike. With the line up in Yamaha's factory team looking settled for the coming years, it became apparent that finding a solution for Crutchlow to remain with Yamaha would be difficult. As recently as last week, Yamaha boss Lin Jarvis told MotoGP.com of the extra efforts Yamaha had made to keep him at Tech 3. But Yamaha were incapable of matching either the financial terms or the level of factory support on offer from Ducati. In the end, a combination of all these factors won the Englishman over.

Crutchlow's choice to switch to Ducati is a gamble. The bike has known very little success since Casey Stoner left the Italian factory to join Honda, and Valentino Rossi's dismal two-year stint at Ducati did little to change the situation. Though massive changes were made during Rossi's tenure on the bike - a switch to an aluminium beam frame, rotating the engine back 18 degrees to centralize mass, and much, much more - none of them tackled the central problem of understeer which plague the Desmosedici. More signs of change have come since Audi took over Ducati, with Bernhard Gobmeier taking over from Filippo Preziosi as the head of Ducati Corse, and Paolo Ciabatti taking the role of MotoGP team manager from Alessandro Cicognani. Despite that, Andrea Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden are finishing in roughly the same place which Rossi and Hayden were finishing in a year ago.

Crutchlow will have to hope for real progress if he is to match the success he has had on the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha satellite bike. The Englishman has had four podiums this year, as well as starting from pole at Assen, and has looked set to secure his first win before the season is out. Podiums are well beyond the reach of the Ducati at the moment, and until some fundamental changes are made, they will remain out of reach for the foreseeable future.

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Comments

Dumb dumb dumb. Dumb on both sides. Cal goes to a bike that has been proven to be uncompetitive regardless of who rides it, and Ducati brings in a guy who will badmouth the bike (simply by telling the truth) whenever he's asked about it. I'm sure Ducati threw a big check at Cal, but why do that instead of throwing that big check at R&D for the bike? He wasn't quite as good as Dovi on the Tech3 bike, I don't know what makes him think he's the answer at Ducati. Maybe he can get the bike to work. Maybe Ducati will find the fixes that are needed. But we thought this about Rossi too; and Dovi, and Hayden, etc. etc.

Total votes: 246

People seem to forget that Dovi already had four full years of MotoGP experience under his belt when he was teamed with Crutchlow (it's not just you, GR - it seems to be a recurring theme in comments here). Of course he was going to be the faster rider over the course of a full season... saying Crutchlow 'wasn't quite as good as Dovi' makes little sense, when you apply context to what you are discussing.

Also, despite Dovi's rookie year being more impressive than Crutchlows, in his second season - on a factory Honda, no less - he finished the season sixth overall and really didn't set the series alight the way Crutchlow is doing in his own second season.

IMO, if you put Dovi on Crutchlow's bike right now, you'd see him challenging for podiums and threatening to even win - pretty much exactly what we are seeing from Crutchlow. Next year we will see them on equal machinery but once again Dovi will have an edge, given that he will already have a years experience with the Duc.

I think Crutchlow has taken the only truly viable option, so good luck to him and I am looking forward to seeing him in red.

Total votes: 222

The only rider in the paddock at the moment that could ride the beast that is the GP13 and have success is Marc Marquez. Period.

Total votes: 202

As crazy as that sounds. I think it could be true.

Total votes: 186

can you say that ? Alot of very talented riders have had careers dissappear or shattered on the Desmo, only 2 riders has had any kind of success. Id love to see MM93 have a ride on it but why would he ?.

You know ive been fortunate enough to ride the customer Desmo RR at Eastern Creek in 2009. I was on my gsxr600 and jumped on the RR for a few laps, i did 10. Couldn't wait to get off it, the bike just wanted to go straight with loads of power, a lot of power and fast-great you might think but i could ride the suzuki a lot quicker. Only 10 laps i know and not a REAL GP bike but the closet ive ever come to riding a bike with the technology it has.

MM93 being competitive on the GP13, im not convinced.

Total votes: 163

I have very little faith that any rider past or preset could be truly competitive on the GP13.

It is simply not as good as the competition.

Total votes: 199

Had Stoner not ridden it. Without Stoner that bike had 1 (very flukey) win in 5 years of competition, with a best championship position of 6th and an average top championship position of 9th. Thats with many world champions riding it. I'm not convinced Stoner couldn't win races on the current Duc.

Total votes: 161

At the end of the '07 season, Preziosi said that: 'but for Stoner, I would be standing here telling you (the press) why we failed again' (not a verbatim quote but close enough).

Ducati senior management chose not to listen; they fired Capirossi unceremoniously and hired Melandri for a reported EU $3m - while having their WC-winning rider tied to an incredibly meagre contract of salary at something like a reported EU 100k plus results. We know how well that turned out.

Crutchlow is the first rider Ducati Corse have hired since Stoner who does not have a gp WC to his name. Perhaps a portent?

Total votes: 158

I have very little faith that any rider past or preset could be truly competitive on the GP13.

It is simply not as good as the competition.

Total votes: 178

has shown an ability to ride the Ducati shod with spec tires. Casey Stoner never had the displeasure of riding it and now two former World Champions have shown no ability to ride it competitively ,either. Marquez' results on the well sorted and top step ready Honda give us no more clue as to his ability to ride the Duc than Casey's performance on the custom Bridgestone(s) offers us in retrospect..... CC is going to be one unhappy rich boy .And Ducati is in for some unhappy post race comments from a rider who speaks what he feels and what he is going to feel is that he cannot run better than 7 to 10th depending on the injury roster that weekend.......maybe it will rain a lot.....

Total votes: 173

Spec tires were introduced in 2009.

Total votes: 175

Casey won many races with Ducati on spec tires

Total votes: 162

Thats like saying "if anyone can tame the GP12 (or 11 or 11.1) its Valentino Rossi" we all know how that turned out

Total votes: 154

Except that Cal was not a rookie last year, this is his third year. So his results are pretty much where they ought to be. A side note (not aimed at V4Racer) no one should begrudge the guy a huge paycheck. The average GP career, or most any motorcycle racing career, is so short as it is, they would be fools not to chase as much money as possible. Should always be maxing out the skill set potential both on the track and in the bank account if possible. Ask Scott Russell about that, he has some interesting thoughts on the subject. Not a big Cal fan but he does make things exciting.

Total votes: 145

Of course it's dumb for Cal to join Ducati, but is it more dumb than staying on a satellite Yamaha? The Ducati is terrible, but the possibility of race wins and championship/s is higher with a factory team than it is with a satellite team. Cal is probably getting a pay increase as well.

The fans think Cal should continue riding satellite bikes b/c they want to see him at the pointy end, but those points and photo ops don't really count for anything. At Ducati he has a glimmer of hope that Duc will get it together, which pays dividends in the present, and Cal gets a raise, which pays dividends in the future (hopefully). Ducati can also offer him a WSBK gig in two years time.

Total votes: 156

At least this means Pol Espargaro is on the Tech 3 next year. That should be quite exciting.

Total votes: 183

Pol will be about the sane level as Bradel in his first year. Fast for sure, but not alien like Marquez.

Total votes: 146

I guess Cal saw the window closing and decided WTF. My favorite new rider, at the mercy of the Do-squati meat grinder.

Total votes: 171

Just hope Cal retains his dignity and doesn't whine and moan if it doesn't perform like he hopes it will.

Obviously, riders are full of self-belief and confidence (essential in this sport), and even though many fantastic riders (Melandri, Hayden and even the great Rossi) failed miserably with Ducati, Cal believes he can make the difference?

Either that or he's just attracted by the huge paycheck (understandable), knows the score and is thinking about his financial future (very smart but comes with a penalty on the old ego). I don't honestly believe he is so full of himself that HE thinks he stands a chance on the Ducati. Seems the Audi input hope has amounted to zero so far.

Good luck Cal, but don't whine if it doesn't perform. Everybody, and I mean EVERYBODY knew this before you signed! But then again, no mortgage after a year or 2?

Total votes: 187

... he complains about the level of support in terms of updates he receives from Yamaha.

Cal himself said that the bike he has is very good, and if you put Lorenzo on it he could still win races.

He's just frustrated at seeing the factory boys get the new toys he knows would help him to be even more competitive (revised fuel cell, etc), hence the desire for a factory ride!

Total votes: 184

And you seriously think that's going to change in the next two years? Exactly on that subject, he's taking a step back! Ducati has proven time and time again that they are not as fast with updates + the amount of updates that Yam and Honda can deliver.
He just has a few extra reasons to whine about ... unless it's clearly stated in his contract that he's not allowed to whine anymore. Look at what happened to Stoner when he started whining about his sickness. It wasn't even Ducati that he was complaining about. Largely because of Ducati's reaction to that, he made the move to Honda.

CC will get a decent paycheck for sure, but I'm not sure that he knows what he's in for... then again, nobody does.

Total votes: 158

...because being stuck on the Ducati for two years is likely to end it.

I honestly can't see what was appealing, other than the pay packet, about moving to Ducati for 2014. He'd surely have been better off staying at Yamaha for another 12 months, challenging for podiums and wins, putting himself in a prime position to pick up Bradl's ride for the 2015 season.

But Ducati? Making hay while the sun shines, I guess. At least he'll have enough to retire on.

Total votes: 166

Crutchlow is 27, he's not getting any younger. A big pay check from the factory will make him financially secure. Good for him, he has earned it!

Total votes: 206

What's given him the right to it? A few podiums? Every pilot in GP has earned it.

Total votes: 177

God help him, actually :)

Total votes: 151

At the risk of repeating that which I have already written- twice-I think this is the best option for all involved: Bautista and Bradley deserved to have the contracts they signed in good faith honoured. Bradl and LCR seem happy and he is doing a decent job- better than Cal in his second year (but if Cal had not gone to Ducati this could have been an option). Bradley too has nearly as many points already as Cal got when he was proclaimed Rookie of the Year.

Plus Cal had said too much to back down from factory support/proper pay etc... But most of all, had he not signed this, just where would he have gone next year? Yamaha seems unlikely, the satellite Hondas still not what he wanted and perceives he deserves. Repsol would be a big gamble on HRC finally getting rid of Dani Pedrosa because they would be insane to (and wont) get rid of Marquez. So what was left?

He has little to lose in this scenario. If he is no better than anyone else than it is because it's the Ducati- "not even Rossi could ride that". If he gains several podiums (which I don't accept are as far away as Mr Emmett suggests above, after all Dovi has come fourth already!) he has performed better than Rossi and his stock should go up, or at least not down. I think he must feel he can beat Dovi, two years on and even if he doesn't immediately, well Dovi has had a year to acclimatize. Also his head looks to have dropped other than when challenged by his teammate so it could be good for both and Ducati too. If on the other hand he significantly improves factory resultshis stock will soar and he could be highly placed to be THE man to call for new 'developing' manufacturers joining the series.

I initially thought he'd made a mistake being, again, out of sync with the top riders' contracts but perhaps even this will pay off if he is free when others are not.

On a personal note for Cal he probably should make money while he can as that has clearly been an issue that has upset him greatly.

Total votes: 195

...isn't it pretty much a guarantee that the Ducati will not improve? Won't fixing the understeer issue pretty much require a fundamental redesign of the engine cases--i.e. moving the mounting locations and altering COG?

So what does "engine freeze" really mean? Apparently the bore and stroke are already fixed. A previous article mentioned future rules freezing all internal parts or something like that, but is it a total freeze? Will Ducati have to run this same turd for the next four years? Or will they be able to stuff the same internals into different cases to better balance the bike and make use of the new frame?

Total votes: 174

from what I understand Ducati have no problem making power and Honda are using a 90*v as well. The motor is not the problem...

Total votes: 162

The Desmo makes more than enough power, yes, and the 90 degree V is not the problem. The problem, as I understand it, is that the orientation of the countershaft relative to the swingarm pivot and motor mounts isn't ideal for the kind of chassis they're now trying to mount the motor to. Sure, they can move the engine around in the chassis, but that effects COG and swingarm length. And the engine is just overall longer than that of the factory competition.

That's why I asked if, once the engine freeze gets even colder, they're allowed to stick with the same internals but get away with altering the cases to stack the transmission differently and move the mounting points. If my understanding of "engine freeze" is correct, they can't, and they're screwed. You can't fix understeer with electronics...

Total votes: 168

Our understanding of engine freeze is indeed different. I understood it to involve freezing development of internals, changing mounting points on the case and condensing the transmission wouldn't be affected I don't think.

Total votes: 155

In addition to the compromised geometry made worse since the engine was rotated back in the chassis, my impression is that the engine is still largely the same as it was when it was a structural part of the chassis, hence it is heavy. It was Duc who pushed for the weight increase last year.

Total votes: 174

Guys, the engine freeze is not rocket science. The GPC is trying to limit the manufacturers to one engine variant per season. The manufacturers will be developing and testing constantly as they do now. At the beginning of the season, each manufacturer will finalize an engine design. The manufacturers will either homologate a design, and then submit engines to be cataloged and sealed by technical direction during the season or the manufacturers will build a batch of 20 engines (4 factory bikes x 5 engines) to be sealed, cataloged, and randomly distributed to the riders. The details of homologation are not known, but the gist of the engine freeze seems quite straightforward.

Total votes: 157

... if Cal sounds frustrated with his win-capable Yamaha now, just wait til he gets a taste of that red heap. I don't see the 2 year deal being a positive either, well maybe for his bank account, but not for his competitive career. Ducati has shown zero indication of having a solid direction for development moving forward, let's not forget that.

Total votes: 153

David, why couldn't Yamaha supply a full factory bike for Crutchlow in the Tech3 team? Seems like that would have been the best for both parties. As far as the LCR ride, I question whether that was ever really an option. Crutchlow would have to be out of his mind to go with Ducati at this point over Honda unless the pay is his prime objective right now, which I'd totally understand.

Total votes: 172

Don't blame the fella really!
Out of a job at the end of the season and plenty of young bloody coming through the ranks biting at his heels.

Options:

A 12 month non factory ride with pay cheque to match then out of a job again
Or
Factory ride with a pay cheque to match and a job for twice as long

Neither give him a shot at the title bit one option offers more security so I can't blame the fella.

Total votes: 171

What's worse than not getting what you want?
Getting what you want!

However, I do hope it works out for him.

Total votes: 174

It was nice seeing Cal as a podium contender. Quite the character. Will miss him in parc ferme. I hope he gets some more podiums and maybe a win this year. We know none of that's going to be on the cards for a while with Ducati and he's taking a gamble that this year will be his best results in his GP career. All the same it is probably the best gamble. The only sure thing is that with Ducati he will get factory support and a factory paycheck. Neither are anything to sneeze at. I don't see it as a cynical decision though. As DE & others well reasoned on twitter Tech 3 might also have been a dead end and less attractive options might have been awaiting him in 2015. Had he stayed he might have another season of good top 5 results but after that he'd be nowhere if someone else sewed up the Ducati slot. JLo is the title player in Yamaha and Rossi is a solid #2 for probably as long as he wants it. Marquez owns Repsol's future and Danni does not look to be threatened from without. All that meaning that the meaningful factory seats will not likely change hands after 2014 and if someone else took Hayden's place then it would only be sattelite purgatory forever for Cal. Now this really makes me sad for Spies as that's exactly where he is right now. GP purgatory.

Total votes: 168

Not know the true reason Crutchlows done this until he leaves Ducati. Honestly, we just won't. But it's fun to speculate isn't it?!! The little snippets that David has put on his twitter feed are very helpful. David, you said there's BIG changes coming with the GP14? I'm sure you'll not elaborate on this but it raises an interesting point.

Both Hayden and Dovi have not liked the parts coming from the lab bike. Maybe not all, but a lot from what I've read. So, is the GP14 going to be a "ground up" build of a new bike? If so, both factory riders are going to be starting with very little data next year. While HRC and Yamaha will have another seasons worth. And thus, quicker. So will the gap shrink during the test in Sepang in January?? I'd like to say yes, but I think it's a no.

I hope both riders are getting paid a fair wedge, because they're going to bloody earn it in test miles. Gonna be a long hard slog..

Total votes: 162

"Be careful what you wish for, it might come true"

Cal wished for a factory ride, now I fear he's cursed.

Total votes: 176

Günther Wiesinger predicted this about two weeks ago, laying out the reasons (including 1.5 million Euro/year). Seemed obvious then that this is where Cal would go...

Total votes: 146

ghostdog6 writes of the Ducati MotoGP bike: "a bike that has been proven to be uncompetitive regardless of who rides it."

Perhaps Loris Capirossi, Sete Gibernau and Troy Bayliss are also ghosts.

And that much maligned #27 clearly does not exist.

Total votes: 172

Not sure what your point is; none of the guys you listed other than Stoner (who is the obvious exception) had any kind of decent career on the Desmo. Even with #27 the bike was only competitive 2 years. Let's look at the stats:

2003 - Ducati 1 win, 1 win Capirossi (steel trellis 990)
2004 - no wins (steel trellis 990)
2005 - Ducati 2 wins, 2 wins Capirossi, (steel trellis 990)
2006 - Ducati 4 wins, 3 wins Capirossi, 1 win Bayliss (steel trellis 990)
2007 - Ducati 11 wins,10 wins Stoner, 1 win Capi (steel trellis 800)
2008 - Ducati 6 wins, 6 wins Stoner (steel trellis 800)
2009 - Ducati 4 wins, 4 wins Stoner (carbon frame 800)
2010 - Ducati 3 wins, 3 wins Stoner (carbon frame 800)
2011 - no wins (carbon, aluminum perimeter frame 800)
2012 - no wins (aluminum perimeter frame 1000)

Ducati had 2 years when they were truly competitive - 2007 and 2008. Maybe include 2006, but two Ducatis crashing into each other took care of that. 2007 and 2008 had a few things in common - Stoner's immense talent, custom Bridgestones and a steel trellis bike with a big motor. What Ducati knows is big motors in a steel trellis frame; what happened when they got away from it? They got no results. Even Stoner could no longer ride the bike.

In the end the Ducati managed to beat down even Stoner's immense talent. Uncompetitive? Clearly. No matter who rides it.

Total votes: 183

I think you can include 2009 as being competitive, since Stoner was taken out by illness for quite a few races. If that had not happened I think he could have battled for the championship.

Total votes: 153

Ducati was a title contender in 06 until Capirossi got injured, and same with Stoner in 09 apart from his illness. Even in 2010 Stoner had 9 podiums, 3 wins and never finished outside the top 5. To me thats competitive, far more competitve than Ducati has been since.

Total votes: 180

of Ducati's slide. The Stoner factor has always skewed the view of the Duc's potential. Look at that list another way and you see that the last win on the Duc that wasn't #27 was Capi in 2007. That's bad. That's really bad considering what the other factory riders alongside and since Stoner did prior to riding a Ducati and further damning after. Look at this.

In the two years' prior to riding the Ducati these riders have:
Hayden 2 wins, 3 podiums on Honda
Melandri 3 wins, 7 podiums on satellite Honda
Rossi 8 wins, 15 podiums and only out of top 5 once in that two year period on Yamaha. Period also included a full season riding with mangled shoulder and half season with broken leg.

During Ducati stint:
Hayden 3 podiums in 5 years
Melandri only cracked top 10 on 3 occasions in 1 year.
Rossi 3 podiums in two years and only finished in top 5 nine times in two years.

After Ducati stint:
Hayden to be determined
Melandri 1 podium and 8 top 10 finishes on developmentally dead Hayate/Kawasaki, 2nd & 3rd place in WSBK championship.
Rossi 1 win, 3 podiums, and only twice out of top 5 in races finished in first half of 2013 season.

And if we do want to look at Stoner, how about this:
In his last two Ducati years: 7 wins, 9 podiums and only out of top 5 once in races finished. Guy went well on the Duc.
However in the following two years on a Honda he has: 15 wins, 11 podiums and only off the podium 3 times in races finished.

Saying nothing of the names mentioned every factory Ducati rider during and since Stoner's time has done astonishingly better before AND after riding the Ducati. Unless Audi really has some secret skunkworks channelling UFO technology to motorbikes I don't see much in Cal's future except for explaining what a difficult position he's in.

Total votes: 174

Didn't Sete saw his comeback end early on a Ducati (yes, financing had something to do with it, but, he was not lighting the grid up) and Bayliss had a dream win. One. It was also said he suffered at Ducati THEN withe same problems they all have - no ability to feel the front or steer.
Not sure what our point is regarding Stoner - everyone here credits Stoner for his achievements and beyond.

Total votes: 147

on the first lap by Stoners Honda wanting to be a Ducati launch ramp. He got some serious air and absolutely wrecked his shoulder and was never the same again.

Total votes: 143

I honestly don't see what other choice he had. Ducati was always his best option!

Honda/Yamaha: "We promise we will do everything we can to help you finish third in the championship!"
Yeah that's an attractive deal!

A satellite anything has not won a race since 2006...Ducati won in 2010!

Honda/Yamaha will make absolutely sure that he doesn't win the championship ahead of their megastars...Ducati would love nothing more!

And if it all turns to shite no one will blame him and he'll walk away a much richer man...I wish I was in those shoes!

Total votes: 183

Previous Ducati-riders all had different riding styles where the bike was actually riding them. Only CS27 rode the Ducati the way it needed to be ridden to get decent results. Keep in mind, Ducati's problem is the tires and building a bike around them. Cal is no dummy so Ducati must have better ideas in store for the future. Cal knows he's closer to the level of the frontrunners now (riding the M1) so he will haveta figure out the Ducati then ride the wheels off of it. With Stoner on his speed-dial and Spies back in the mix... Cal may have all the help he needs for Ducati's engineers... if they actual listen to him! If nothing else though, Cal will ride the bike harder just to beat Dovi! Cal has the warrior-attitude to get close to, if not on, the podium. The Cal VS Dovi battle will be better than Dani VS Marquez. Bring on 2014...

Total votes: 191

Nobody fights harder than Hayden.
Sounds crazy, but he is the winner in this. Hope he lands well and starts to have fun again. A harder working and more respectful man won't saddle that bike again.

Total votes: 200

Very sad to see Nick Hayden leave Ducati Corse, but hopefully it will be to greener fields. Class act, all the way.

Total votes: 184

I hope Hayden goes to World Superannuation Bikes, he's a perfect fit there and we'd see him fighting for wins rather than just sightseeing.

Total votes: 163

I'd like to see him there on one of the Yamahas they're rumored to get. If so, he'd probably be fighting with Crutchlow and Dovi.

Total votes: 172

In my opinion, Cal is smartly thinking about his finances and the perks of being a factory rider -- good for him-- The move probably won't make his fans happy, but from his perspective, Yamaha won't let him win a championship on a satellite bike and he will have no pressure on him to win anything for at least the next year. If they do the get Ducati sorted out, he will look like a hero if he does get some podiums on it. If not, he can blame the bike and retire with an overflowing bank account and launch a much safer cycling career. At least that's what it looks like to me.

Total votes: 164

He'll need that extra loot to pay his medical bills after he hurts himself over and over trying to bake that Ducati finish above 8th.

Honestly, I like Audi so a part of me wants to see Ducati succeed. Then the other part of me that looks at Ducati and their arrogance. His they treated the ONLY rider to give them any success. How they treated their best spokesperson. Along with the other riders that have risen that heap. Add that to the fact that they now have a rider who's ego is over inflated and has proven nothing in GP. That part of me is going to enjoy the next two years.

Total votes: 166

We may see him be a quite a bit less "polite" to the factory Yamahas for the second half of the season!

Total votes: 174

Misread that. Thought you were talking about next year.

Total votes: 169

Audi may know cage chassis but not motorbikes and Ducati didn't have any aluminum spar chassis experience either. They are having to play the Japanese game and they are decades behind them regarding these types of frames. Copy Honda if you must.

Total votes: 160

I think Ducati has to follow it's own path for now and for the future. Audi do know composites and with Ducati and Audi minds combined they could be real force but it will take time.

Total votes: 149

Having no where else to go, Cal made the best move he could for his future. He is not Stoner, so will likely be somewhere around Dovi's pace. Ducati has been promising major changes for years without delivering much measureable performance change. Is it the wide angle of the V4 where the problem lays, or does Duc still have the old front end steering geometry which makes it so tiring to ride?

Total votes: 165

If Cal's on Dovi's pace. Why switch him with Hayden. They went from having an Ambassador to someone who will undoubtably be very vocal about how bad the bike is. Look how much he's whines on a bike that can win races when it has a fast enough pilot on top. . That sure makes a lot of sense for keeping the brand strong.

Total votes: 178

Maybe the Ducati team should think about buying themselves a production RC213.

Total votes: 176

I seriously LOL'd! Put a Ducati fairing on it, paint it red and hope no one notices.

Cal is a professional, and this is the one thing in life that he can do better than virtually any other person on the planet. Why shouldn't he be paid to do it? I'm thrilled to see him secure his financial future.

Total votes: 169

Sprayed my morning coffee all over my iPad at that one. :-)

Wouldn't be the first time a gobby 'never say die' Brit has wrung the neck of an Italian motorcycle either. Ahh, the good old Foggy days. It's a pipe dream but Id even pay the BT Vision fees to see it!

Total votes: 160

If Ducati was so great in 2005-2010 making regular podiums even winning the championship. How can they not make this turd bike work... Why can't the fix the f**** problem already I mean gosh 3 years and still with under steer problems.. Cruthlows got his work cut out for him for next 2 seasons. We gonna be seeing a lot of crying and whining from clutch low no doubt.. Might even throw a cpl tamper tantrums lol ... If he can make the bike win or even podium it from here or there then I agree cruchlow is the shit.. For sure.. What I can't understand is how come capirossi and stoner could ride the bike and Rossi Melandri Hayden and everyone else after can't.. Idk why they made changes to the design of the 07model that would of been a badass design to keep.. Anyways can wait to start hearing some more silly season .. N better yet indy

Total votes: 161

Stoner and Capi had advantage in tyres then. Custom Bridgestones. Seems the frame changes made things worse. Good for crutchlow though, he will earn good money and stay in GP. I am surprised really about Pol coming to Tech3 and being preferred over Cal. Hope he does not start cleaning house in 1st corner. Cal would hate the Pigati if it does not change drastically from its current iteration.

Speedweek predicted this a while back and some commenter here also said that CAal is going to Duc a few weeks back methinks.

Total votes: 167

He hasn't been able to win on a bike that's capable of it. Why would anyone think that's going to happen on the Ducati. Someone on "the beeb" said it best. He's capable of beating 1 to 2 aliens at a time. Not all four if them.

Total votes: 152

has been competitive on this bike(the 800 was not and is not this bike) .ANY past success prior to the spec tire is immaterial and might as well have taken place on another planet. To repeat,no one,not Capirossi,not Stoner,not anyone....has been competitive on the bike with spec tires.....

Total votes: 153

And not one of them have ridden it. What's your point?

Total votes: 155

And maybe longer than that. Capirossi had one fluke win on the 800 Duc, he wasn't really competitive much at all. Stoner was the only guy who could ride that bike, and he said the carbon fibre chassis was a real step forward compared to what he had to use previously. If DucTi had stuck with their carbon frame and continued to develop that they would be much better off now IMO.

Total votes: 150

...but I think he's going to be pretty good on the Duc.

Total votes: 152

Hang on everybody, it may look like a dumb move on the surface and sure, Cal may have painted himself into a corner with Yamaha over his outbursts, but think on.

Outspoken he may be, but dumb he is not. There simply has to be more to the deal than just a large pay cheque. Audi are not stupid and neither is Cal, so it is quite possible that they have put together a credible development case which gives him the belief that he can become competitive on the Ducati.

Cal came from Superbikes, where the riding style, given the limitations of the chassis compared to MotoGP machines, necessitates a "grab it by the scruff of the neck" technique. What was the style of the only person to really get the maximum out of the Ducati? Right.

Remember Troy Bayliss, sideways and backing it in, jumped on it and won?

OK, it may be the stupidest move since Napoleon decided to invade Russia, but it will at least be fascinating!

Total votes: 161

The same theory was put forth for Hayden and De Puniet. Stoner didn't just grab it by the scruff of the neck, he also coaxed the maximum out of the Duc with precise control and great set up. I think with the amount of riders to have tried and failed now, It's not really a matter of finding a 'style' to suit the Duc anymore. Ducati had the goose that laid golden eggs, and then offered his job to Lorenzo when he got sick.

Total votes: 161

Now Cal can join Spies in the "who can finish ahead of the CRTs" contest. What a dumb move. I have read many comments with people saying "The odds of winning a Championship are better on a factory team" What universe are you living in where the Ducati has ANY chance of winning a race, much less a championship........ I hope he enjoys his podiums with Tech 3 as they are more than likely to be the last of his career. I guess the prestige of being a "factory" rider outweighs any actual chance of winning anything.

Plus, I'll throw this out, why, why does Ducati and Marlborough insist on throwing money away on motogp? Marlborough can't even show their name and Ducati doesn't sell V4 bikes based on MotoGP success, they are a V-Twin superbike company. Wouldn't they be better off getting their act together in WSBK? How long before Audi realizes what a financial black hole MotoGP is?

Total votes: 177

Don't forget to take into account what all Cal gets as a factory rider. Great deal of difference, it is a DREAM for most riders to be one. The 'real' Motogp experience, respect, bells/whistles, red carpets, bike development, et al. It is a big deal. And Ducati have no where to go but faster, eh? A LOT of variables are in flux right now. I like the guy and would have rather seen him on the LCR but it wasn't to be. I think he has the wild eyed non-linear big-balled gumption to beat the more traditional Dovi. Betcha a fish n chips and a guiness on it ;)

P.S. we deserve more than a 2 manufacturer series!

Total votes: 159

Tech 3 then off to Suzuki next year might have been better. Maybe they'll get the Ducati sorted for him. I hope something works out - he's a great rider.

Total votes: 166

Hopefully Cal will record a win on his Yamaha before the season is out. That is certainly a possibility. I am glad Ducati signed him, but I am not sure what they expect. While Cal has been spectacular this season, I sort of see Nicky, Cal and Dovi as the same rider. I might even lump Spies in the group. They each rode great Japanese MotoGP bikes and tended to run a tick off the pace of the aliens. On rare occasion all four achieved the top pace or equaled it, but over time constantly finished a few seconds back at the flag.

Total votes: 157

Wow, (shaking my head), wow. Cannot say I am surprised. He has been saying, "I DESERVE A FACTORY RIDE! TECH 3 BIKE IS NOT CLOSE TO FACTORY SPEC!" since last year. Talked himself out of the ride last year. Tech 3 is a lot closer to factory than other satellite bikes are, (Honda).

All I can say is good luck. Ducati seem to be lost in their development. Have ruined several riders careers in Motogp. Destroyed their confidence. They got rid of Nicky Hayden, who IMHO is someone they should have kept for not saying hardly a negative word about the POS, (and I am a HUGE fan of Ducati). Factory ride or not, I bet that ART will be a better bike than Ducati by next year going of the progress of that bike compared to Ducati's damn near standstill development

Total votes: 175

...ONE thing I want to know:

WHAT is the monetary value of his contract? I REALLY hope that it's a LOT. I really like Cal, and I hope he'll be well paid for what he's about to be put through.

p.s. regardless of who he races for, I'll always cherish the memory of having him nearly run me over with his scooter ( behind his pits at the Austin race)... while he was eating ice cream... and steering with one hand...and somehow, he got full on the binders and stopped a couple inches short of me, using only one hand. Now THAT was impressive. :-)

Total votes: 150

If everything will go the same way as it's now it will go to Ducati's face but if something will change to better it will go to Cal's or Dovi's account, especially to the first one as a newcomer. Cal signed for what he was looking for: factory so the support and good amount of money - good for him! He would never get it staying in Yamaha and other options from Honda garage (non-Repsol) wouldn't be the same as their full factory team. The options he had (in MotoGP) were really a few from the start of negotiations.
Ducati - as I guess there is about to change the whole approach i.e. bike developing but also the HQ staff is reorganised, maybe they're starting really from scratch this time? Something Stoner or Rossi would finally sees as a 'change' or 'they really listen this time!'
Cal - maybe there is option to cut the deal to one year (like if there will be no progress from the bike's side)? Then he could make some shakeup like Suzuki switch or finally try Honda. Anyway that's all he could get from current MotoGP combination. Yamaha and Honda factory teams are occupied like forever from many years and Dovi or Spies had been very lucky to be there at their time. There's really nothing to complain about this move.

Total votes: 146

Cal isn't 20 years old and just coming onto the scene. He not only secured his financial future, it was the best option he had at this point. With Jorge and Vale at Yammy, there wasn't anywhere to go in the near future there. Honda was simply offering him another satellite seat which wasn't a step up, simply a sideways move for him. We all know that MM is the new golden boy, replacing DP as such. Mini-Ped doesn't seem to be going anywhere soon despite his lack of titles over the last 7 years.

I understand everyone saying that Cal has thrown his career away, if you only look at the recent past instead of what the future might hold. There's not much valid argument to the point that with anyone's butt but Casey's planted in the seat, the Ducati wasn't competitive. Now, instead of focusing on the past, let's look at what the future *could* easily be. As I posted elsewhere in regards to the Crutchlow move "One . . . Ok, tw... 3 words : Audi motorsports win" & SpinDizzy so appropriately agreed, Audi knows how to win in motorsports. Don't think so, go check the list of winners.

They've only won 7 of the last 8 (10 of 15) 24 Hours of Le Mans. It means a LOT to win at that level and the 24HLM event is one of the most prestigious of all. If they weren't interested in being competitive in MotoGP, they would have called it already, packed up at the end of this year and went home.

If you don't think they can develop a bike because they're an "Auto" company then I suggest you think back to the project that the KR put together about a decade back. Many of that development team had auto engineering experience in motorsports. When they finally got the Honda power plant in that bike, it was competitive.

Now, if DORNA and the FIM could grow a pair so they can inform Honda, etc. that they don't give a damn about the fuel mileage & such bullshit. Inform them that they would rather have a competitve race series with multiple manufacturers involved, instead of riders not being able to push the limit because their friggin' bike might run out of fuel.

Anybody that thinks that the series can't survive without the factories needs to take a look at history. Some of the best racing I can remember is when there were LOTS of "privateers", aka non-factory teams, that were on the grid that were actually competitive. I don't foresee that happening as long as all that counts is what Honda/Yamaha want. Sponsors care about exposure, when the sport is more competitive and thus attractive to people to watch, the sponsors win. When nobody wants to watch because there's only 4 bikes that might win, everyone loses. Everyone wonders why Yamaha can't get a sponsor, I think that's a big reason why. This ain't rocket science and doesn't need to be for good, competitive racing. It's close to being nothing but a test bed for Honda to dictate what they want.

The biggest question I have is how much more will the play with the rules over the next few years? This constant change does nothing but create costs for everyone, factory or otherwise. Stable rules would be a good start, rules that are fair and help everyone.

Total votes: 145

The reality is that what Yamaha and Honda will be looking for is something cal can't supply - youth. Both manufacturers already have championship winning bikes and championship capable riders with first class wing men. They don't need another seasoned rider to develop the bike and possibly win the odd race. My guess is that they're now only interested in up and coming young talent who can win championships in say 3 or 4 years time, when the current crop fade away. By then cal himself would be nearer the end of his career in motogp, so it'd be fruitless investment. On the other hand ducati need someone just like cal, with the experience to possibly turn their millstone into a hot ride again, and with the potential and hunger to win races if the bike is competitive. Maybe he'll get lucky and achieve his potential, but unfortunately for him he arrived in the paddock a little too late age-wise, given the plethora of talent around today.

Total votes: 148