Maverick Vinales and Fabio Quartararo have both welcomed the news that Cal Crutchlow is in advanced talks to join Yamaha as test and development rider for the 2021 MotoGP season, saying his directness is exactly what the team needs at this time.
The Briton confirmed ahead of this weekend’s Valencia MotoGP that he is close to a deal that will see him rejoin the manufacturer with which he made his series debut back in 2011.
He is set to replace Jorge Lorenzo, who joined Yamaha in a high-profile deal after announcing his retirement from racing in 2019, though questions have been raised about his absence during limited test time available in 2020 amid reports of him not being competitive enough to fulfil the role.
By contrast, though Crutchlow has endured a fraught and injury-ridden 2020 campaign, he is a race winner and indicated he remains motivated to perform for whatever project may come next.
The prospect of Crutchlow’s arrival in the ‘Yamaha family’ has certainly pleased Quartararo, who suggests Yamaha has lost its way in terms of the direction of the M1 development at a crucial time when a freeze on new parts leaves it with fewer options for 2021.
“I think this is something really important for us,” the Frenchman, who joins the factory Yamaha squad in 2021, said. “This year with the test rider we haven’t done many laps, so it will be great to have all of the manufacturers a rider that really wants to ride and for Yamaha to make a lot of tests for hte bike.
“That is missing right now and Cal is riding the Honda, he has ridden Yamaha and Ducati so it is a great opportunity for Yamaha. I hope we will find something together to have Cal in the family for next year.”
Vinales, who has also become increasingly outspoken about the direction Yamaha is taking with the M1 – most notably its inconsistent grip performance – believes Crutchlow’s notoriously outspoken attitude is exactly what Yamaha needs to push the project forward.
“For sure, it will be very important to have Cal because what I like from him is he is very direct with his comments and if he says something bad about you, he will say.
“We need to find out if things work or not but not in five months, we need to know in one day. We need to improve a lot. For sure it is Yamaha’s decision, but what I feel from Cal is that he can improve the bike a lot.
“We see from Honda that they have a lot of rear grip and he knows that, so if we can have that information…
“When Cal has a good day it is very difficult to beat him, so he can bring good information and I like his character by being direct. We need that in the team.”