Cal Crutchlow is set to end his full-time MotoGP career at next weekend’s Portimao season finale and join Yamaha as a test rider for 2021.
Having lost his LCR Honda seat to Alex Marquez the Englishman had previously expressed interest in moving to Aprilia, now confirmed as needing a new factory rider following Andrea Iannone‘s four-year ban.
However, like Andrea Dovizioso, Crutchlow has declined the RS-GP chance.
“The truth is that I’m in quite advanced discussions with Yamaha and I think in the very near future we will come to an agreement we are both happy with,” Crutchlow said.
“It is a project I would be very interested to do and it would suit me very well after this season with regards to my knowledge of MotoGP and my years in MotoGP and my speed.
“I informed Aprilia I did not want to do that project. I would not be following that any more.”
Refusing to directly respond to a question about whether he was offered a standby role to replace injured MotoGP champion Marc Marquez next season, the 35-year-old added: “As I said, I am very far down the line with Yamaha and I’m sure we’ll come to an agreement I’m happy with.
“I believe that I made the correct decision. You have to go with your heart and feeling. I chose a different way to what everyone expected, probably.”
Prior to racing for Ducati and Honda, Crutchlow had a long association with Yamaha, winning the 2009 World Supersport title, then three World Superbike race wins, followed by three seasons in MotoGP at Tech3 (six podiums).
The triple Honda MotoGP race winner also wouldn’t be drawn on whether he wants wild-card appearances for Yamaha next season, as predecessor Jorge Lorenzo had agreed prior to Covid.
But either way, the next two weekends will mark the end of Crutchlow’s full-time racing career.
“I feel happy and sad, of course. At the end of the day, I’m a racer at heart. I came here to compete and do the best job that I can. I always believed I could do well. But more times than not – as you know – you don’t succeed in this sport,” said Crutchlow, the only British rider since Barry Sheene to win a premier-class race.
“If success is winning then more often than not, 90% of the riders, don’t succeed at winning all the time. But I’ve had a great ten years in MotoGP, a great career and I have well exceeded my own expectations of what I can achieve in MotoGP and I’m very happy for that.
“I’ve made a great life for me and my family. It’s sad I won’t potentially compete in MotoGP as a full-time rider but on the other hand, I’m happy with what I have been able to do so far.
“That’s it. If I do something else then I’ll channel my energy into that thing. It’s as simple as that.”