Cal Crutchlow set for Yamaha racing return at Styrian MotoGP?

Cal Crutchlow is expected to be announced as replacing the injured Franco Morbidelli on the Petronas SRT Yamaha at the upcoming Styrian MotoGP

Cal Crutchlow - Yamaha MotoGP

Cal Crutchlow is expected to make his return to the MotoGP World Championship grid at the upcoming Styrian MotoGP as the latest replacement for the recovering Franco Morbidelli.

The British rider informally retired from full-time competition at the conclusion of the 2020 MotoGP season after ten seasons competing in the top flight before penning a deal to join Yamaha as its test and development rider, replacing Jorge Lorenzo.

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While the triple MotoGP race winner was always expected to get race outings as a wild-card in this capacity - unlike Lorenzo before him - Crutchlow is set to be announced on the entry list for the upcoming Red Bull Ring race on August 8.

He will throw his leg over the Petronas SRT Yamaha M1 in place of Morbidelli, who is still recovering from a knee injury that forced him to undergo surgery last month.

As well as being his first MotoGP outing of 2021, it would mark his first race on Yamaha machinery since 2013 when he brought a three-year stint with the satellite Tech 3 Racing team to a conclusion having amassed eight podiums and facilitated a switch to the factory Ducati team.

Crutchlow’s call-up would also come in the wake of comments made by Petronas SRT Yamaha boss Wilco Zeelenberg that questioned the decision by Yamaha to place relatively inexperienced Garrett Gerloff on the bike at the Dutch TT, instead of Crutchlow, saying: 

“Clearly I wanted Cal on the bike, he knows Assen and he is the test rider… Garrett is a bit of a gamble we have to admit, it is risky.” [sic]

Crutchlow may not be the only high-profile returnee to MotoGP in Austria with ex-Repsol Honda race winner Dani Pedrosa considering a wild-card outing with KTM in what would be his first start since 2018.