The news was already in the air and now it’s official - Cal Crutchlow will stand in for Franco Morbidelli on the Petronas Yamaha team for the next three races. The Italian continues to recover after injuring his left knee and, in agreement with the team, prefers to get back to full fitness before returning to his M1.
Crutchlow will take part in the two Austrian rounds and the Silverstone round, his home race. This marks a return for the 35-year old British rider after he retired at the end of 2020, before becoming test rider for Yamaha.
Razali: "We have no real targets"
“Cal is an experienced rider and will be able to rack up some good mileage on our M1, which should aid him with his testing and development work for Yamaha” comments team principal 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. He’s already familiar with some of the key people in the team, which helps, and I’m sure he’s up for the challenge”.
Crutchlow: "I hope Frankie is back soon"
An enthusiasm that Crutchlow himself shares: “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. 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”.
Cal’s not setting himself any goals, aside from clocking up some precious miles as he continues to help develop the M1: “I think it’s difficult to set targets for these three races and it will be more about understanding the bike, as I’ve had limited riding days this year. The good thing will be that I can compare the bikes and I should be able to gather a lot of data for Yamaha. It’s a very competitive MotoGP class, but I’m really looking forward to it and it’s going to be good to be back on the grid”.
And Crutchlow won’t be the only rider returning to the top class after the summer break, as Daniel Pedrosa will also be on track at the Styrian GP, competing as a wildcard for KTM.
Translated by Heather Watson