British MotoGP rider Cal Crutchlow has signed a two-year deal to ride for Ducati commencing next season.
The 27-year-old has progressed and impressed this season from last with four podium finishes and was a sensible choice to replace 2006 World Champion Nicky Hayden who will not be with Ducati as of seasons end.
Currently sitting 5th in the overall Championship standings on the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha Satellite team, Crutchlow’s burning desire to ride for a factory team has finally come to a reality by accepting the new deal.
There are three factory teams in the MotoGP competition consisting of Ducati, Repsol Honda and Yamaha. With Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo having 2 years remaining on their Yamaha contract and the Spanish duo of Marc Marquz and Dani Pedros with Reposl Honda, it was a case of ‘where do I sign’ for Cal to join the factory Ducati in 2014.
The benefits of riding for a factory team are having priorities over the other teams with mechanical updates and specification upgrades before their sister teams, who lease their bikes from the factories.
The move also reunites Crutchlow with former Monster Tech 3 team-mate Andrea Dovizioso. The pair encountered some amazing duels last season consistently finishing 4th and 5th and vise versa.
Timing for the deal was perfect for Crutchlow as Yamaha were in talks with Moto2 rider Pol Espargaro back in May for next season. Tech 3 have since signed Espargaro who will join Bradley Smith, Smith is contracted until the end of 2014. If the factory Ducati deal didn’t come about for Crutchlow he would still be looking for a ride not having a team.
Yamaha have responded to the move saying it was all about money and that they couldn’t afford to keep Crutchlow. Both parties where somehow still in talks last week according to Yamaha Motor Racing managing director Lin Jarvis.
Jarvis encouraged Crutchlow to chase the big dollars saying it was the right time in his career to do so but some might see that as a smokescreen by the MD trying to play the ‘good guy’. After all, his bike had all but had a new rider before it was vacant.
In recent times Ducati has saddled up the likes of seven-times World Champion Valentino Rossi and former World Champion Casey Stoner but has been unable to collect a podium finish since Stoner at Phillip Island in 2010.
Cutchlow hopes to change all of that by building on his current form and taking it into the 2014 season.
Pic: Super Motores