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Aug 15, 2013

Factory Status Was Key To Crutchlow’s Move To Ducati

FIM MotoGP World Championship: Cal Crutchlow. Photo courtesy of Dorna/
MotoGP rider Cal Crutchlow’s move from the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team to the Ducati Corse squad was all about becoming a “factory” rider and reaping the benefits that come with it.

Earlier this month it was announced simultaneously that Crutchlow would be leaving the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 satellite team to join the Ducati Corse factory MotoGP team in 2014 and that Yamaha had signed Moto2 standout Pol Espargaro to ride for Monster Yamaha Tech 3.

Based on this, some saw Crutchlow’s move as his only choice because Yamaha had already signed Espargaro and with Jorge Lorenzo, Valentino Rossi and Bradley Smith already under contract, Crutchlow had no place left at Yamaha. But the 27-year-old British rider said that even though Yamaha had signed Espargaro they were still offering him a satellite ride for 2014 and he left to become a factory rider.

“I could stay. I could stay at Yamaha,” Crutchlow told Thursday. “There was an offer for me to stay on the table, but it wasn’t what I wanted. What I mean is it was a one-year deal when I wanted a two-year deal. And they made it clear that if Jorge or Valentino wanted to stay after 2014 they can. So still there is no way for me to improve. I’m still in the same team and not improving in Yamaha as a brand. So the decision was very easy from this comment that they made to me.”

It’s also widely believed that Ducati’s offer to Crutchlow includes a much bigger paycheck than he receives now or would have received had he stayed with Yamaha. But to earn that paycheck, Crutchlow will be asked to get results on what is currently the least competitive factory prototype in MotoGP racing. What does Crutchlow think of the Ducati?

“I like the color,” Crutchlow said, joking. “At the end of the day, it's a motorcycle that people have done very well on in the past and not just one rider. Yeah, as I said, hopefully things will change a little, but I will give 100%. I believe my 100% will be good enough. If I didn't think my 100% was good enough, I wouldn't be racing a motorcycle. So I think, you know, I'll try my best, and that's all I can do.”

Asked what he thinks of Crutchlow leaving Yamaha and signing with Ducati, defending MotoGP World Champion Lorenzo said, “Probably I would do the same if I were in his position. I think he make a very good job these last two years in Yamaha. His problem is he stay in his position at the wrong time, because Yamaha have very competitive riders like Valentino and me in the official team signing for two years. So this for sure was not an advantage for him. And he didn’t get the support he wanted. Obviously in this moment almost everyone would say the Yamaha of Cal is better than the Ducati this year, so I think he’s thinking they can improve his bike in the future. Also, the offer of the money is much bigger. So hopefully for him will be good on the economic side and on the sporting side.”