After KTM's confirmation of Dani Pedrosa's return to racing, now it's official that Cal Crutchlow will also be in the game at the Red Bull Ring on Franco Morbidelli's Yamaha Petronas while the Italian rider continues his recovery from surgery on his left knee.
Crutchlow will take part in the two Grands Prix in Austria, held at Spielberg, and the BritishGP at Silverstone – his home race.
Crutchlow is no stranger to Yamaha MotoGP machinery, having started his premier class career with the Japanese marque in 2011 – spending three seasons aboard the Yamaha – and is now the official factory test and development rider.
"After looking at all the options, it was a collective decision between Yamaha and ourselves to ask Cal Crutchlow to fill in for Franco, while he recovers from surgery - said Razlan Razali, Team Principal, Petronas - Cal is a credible and experienced rider, who is currently a test rider for Yamaha. As an independent team, this is where we can really step up to help Yamaha. Cal will be able to rack up some good mileage on our M1, which should aid him with his testing and development work for Yamaha. 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".
"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 - added Cal - 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.
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 bit like being thrown in the deep end, as 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.
I’m looking forward to meeting the team in Austria, although there will be some familiar faces for me because Wilco Zeelenberg was my Team Manager in Supersport in 2009 and I actually raced against Johan Stigefelt some years ago, so it’s going to be a pleasure to be back with them".