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How will Cal Crutchlow fare on his Yamaha return at the Styria MotoGP

Cal Crutchlow is not setting himself targets for the Styria MotoGP... which is just as well because the odds are stacked against the Yamaha returnee

Cal Crutchlow, Yamaha, MotoGP 2021


The Union Jack will be represented on the MotoGP grid for the first time in 2021 this weekend as Cal Crutchlow forges a path back to the premier class with Petronas SRT Yamaha.

The three-time MotoGP race winner has been called up to replace the injured Franco Morbidelli on the Petronas SRT Yamaha, where he will be paired with Valentino Rossi for this weekend’s Styria MotoGP, plus the following Austrian MotoGP and his home British MotoGP.

As well as marking his first MotoGP start since calling time on his full-time racing career at the conclusion of the 2020 season, this will be Crutchlow’s first outing on Yamaha machinery since he left Tech 3 Racing for Ducati back in 2013.

With half a year out of competition, Crutchlow admits he is not setting himself targets for his return to action. 

“I’m really looking forward to being back on the grid and getting into the swing of a race weekend again, although it’s going to feel very different to the job that I’ve been doing this year as Yamaha’s test rider. 

“The circuit at Spielberg isn’t one that I’ve enjoyed too much in the past, however I did finish fourth in 2018 and that was a good result. It’s not a fast and flowing circuit, it's somewhere where you need to be quick and very precise. I don’t have a target as such when it comes to results, my main aim will just be to try to improve session by session. 

“I’ll be working with Ramon Forcada, who knows the Yamaha bike very well. I think it will be good as Ramon was with Yamaha when I was. I’m sure it will go well; I just want to make sure that I do a good job for the team.

Cal Crutchlow - Yamaha Racing 2021

How will Cal Crutchlow fare on his MotoGP return?

Describing the Red Bull ring as a venue he ‘hasn’t enjoyed too much in the past’, Crutchlow comes into the Styrian MotoGP with the odds stacked against him.,

Indeed, having defected from Honda to Yamaha to become its official development rider, Crutchlow hasn’t turned too many laps on the M1. 

Moreover, the short, fast Austrian venue hasn’t suited the Yamaha in the past, while Crutchlow will be making do with a bike that hasn’t changed significantly from 2019 and is regularly rooted to the bottom of the speed trap charts.

As such, Crutchlow will be using Rossi on the sister - but newer - as his target for the weekend.

Then again, so long as Crutchlow’s weekend goes better than Morbidelli’s last year - when the Italian was involved in a frightening accident with Johann Zarco that almost caught up Rossi and Maverick Vinales - there will be some heart to take from it.

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