Friday, August 2

CRUTCHLOW SIGNS WITH DUCATI


By Michael Esdaile

ENGLISHMAN Cal Crutchlow, the 2009 Supersport World Champion, has signed a two year MotoGP deal with Ducati, replacing long-serving American Nicky Hayden.

The deal is worth a reputed 1.5 million Euro per year, plus bonuses.

Crutchlow is currently in his third year in MotoGP with the French Tech 3 Yamaha team.  He races a 2012 factory Yamaha YZR-M1.

Tech 3 did not have the budget to get anywhere near Ducati’s offer, the only well-paid ride available to Crutchlow in MotoGP for 2014.  Even with Yamaha Motor Co. Ltd. offering to sweeten the Tech 3 deal, the best they could come up with was 300,000 Euro.

The Ducati-Crutchlow deal was tipped weeks in advance by veteran Swiss grand prix reporter Günther Wiesinger, who outlined the terms of the deal and pointed out that at 28, Crutchlow had few opportunities to cash in on his talent.

At the second USGP of the season, at California’s Laguna Seca circuit on July 21, Crutchlow’s American manager Bob Moore had agreed terms with Ducati's MotoGP project manager Paolo Ciabatti the night before the race.  All that remained was for a contract to be signed.

On August 1 it was announced this had been done and that Crutchlow would be joining his old Tech 3 team-mate Andrea Dovizioso at Ducati.

Crutchlow has been achieving good results on the Tech 3 Yamaha so far this season, his third in MotoGP.  He currently lies fifth in the championship with 116 points and has appeared on the podium four times in the nine races run so far.

Unlike many of the current top level riders, Crutchlow did not start racing at a super young age, but he was young enough, winning the Junior Challenge in England at age 14 and then taking the Aprilia RS125 Challenge in England in 2001.

Crutchlow’s next title was in 2006 when he won the British Supersport Championship after three years in that series. then in 2007, when Casey Stoner was winning Ducati its first MotoGP Championship, Crutchlow made his début in the British Superbike Championship.  Racing a Suzuki GSX-R1000 he finished ninth in the title chase.  He switched to a Honda CBR1000 in 2008 as team-mate to Leon Haslam and won his first Superbike race, at Thruxton in 2009.  He eventually finished third in the championship.

For 2008 he signed to race a Yamaha YZF-R6 in the Supersport World Championship, and won the title.  His first world title.

A year in the Superbike World Championship followed but Crutchlow was unable to repeat American Ben Spies' stunning results on the crossplane crank YZF-R1 and it wasn’t until mid-way through the first season that he scored a race win.  He ended the season fifth in the title chase.

Despite his relative lack of Superbike success, Crutchlow was signed to race in the Tech 3 MotoGP team for 2011, and he has been there ever since.

He was Rookie of the Year in 2011 and finished 12th in the title chase with a best place of fourth.


In 2011 he was partnered Andrea Dovizioso in the team and the pair regularly fought over the minor placings, with the Italian generally getting the better of the Englishman, who finished the season in seventh place on the points table.