Crutchlow can “make the difference” for Yamaha – Rossi

Valentino Rossi believes three-time MotoGP race winner Cal Crutchlow can “make the difference” for Yamaha in 2021 as its official test rider following the struggles of 2020. 

Crutchlow can “make the difference” for Yamaha – Rossi

Despite winning half of last year’s races, Yamaha failed to win any of the three championships on offer, with its 2020 M1 riders besieged by various issues with the bike which led to wildly inconsistent form. 

After leading for much of the campaign, Fabio Quartararo faded to eighth in the standings over the final six rounds, while Maverick Vinales was sixth and Rossi 15th (though he did miss two rounds due to COVID-19).

Yamaha’s troubles weren’t aided by the lack of a test programme for Jorge Lorenzo, who only did four days on a 2019 M1 in February and October – its plans largely undone by COVID travel restrictions on its Japanese-based test crew. 

For 2021, the marque has signed former Tech 3 Yamaha rider Crutchlow to spearhead its plans following his retirement from full-time racing, and will be in action across all days of this month’s Qatar testing – which started on Friday (below).

Cal Crutchlow, Yamaha Factory Racing

Cal Crutchlow, Yamaha Factory Racing
1/10

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Cal Crutchlow, Yamaha Factory Racing

Cal Crutchlow, Yamaha Factory Racing
2/10

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Cal Crutchlow, Yamaha Factory Racing

Cal Crutchlow, Yamaha Factory Racing
3/10

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Cal Crutchlow, Yamaha Factory Racing

Cal Crutchlow, Yamaha Factory Racing
4/10

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Cal Crutchlow, Yamaha Factory Racing

Cal Crutchlow, Yamaha Factory Racing
5/10

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Cal Crutchlow, Yamaha Factory Racing

Cal Crutchlow, Yamaha Factory Racing
6/10

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Cal Crutchlow, Yamaha Factory Racing

Cal Crutchlow, Yamaha Factory Racing
7/10

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Cal Crutchlow, Yamaha Factory Racing

Cal Crutchlow, Yamaha Factory Racing
8/10

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Maverick Vinales, Yamaha Factory Racing, Cal Crutchlow, Yamaha Factory Racing

Maverick Vinales, Yamaha Factory Racing, Cal Crutchlow, Yamaha Factory Racing
9/10

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Cal Crutchlow, Yamaha Factory Racing

Cal Crutchlow, Yamaha Factory Racing
10/10

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

When asked if Crutchlow could be the final piece of the puzzle to curing the inconsistency which plagued Yamaha last year and has done since 2016, Rossi said: “I think that Cal can make the difference, [he] can help Yamaha a lot. Also, I have a good relationship with Cal, so I’m very happy to work with him.

“It all depends on the motivation, because to be a test rider is not easy because for sure you have to find the motivation to push at the limit of the bike even if you don’t race. So, this will be not easy for Cal and I hope he arrives with a good motivation, with a good approach.

“He stopped this winter and he’s in a good shape, and this can make the difference I think. We expect a strong support from Cal because Cal is a MotoGP rider, so he stopped just last year. 

“He’s in a good shape, he rode a long time for Honda, so he can give Yamaha some advice. I want to speak with him after his first touch with the M1.”

Read Also:

In an interview with Motorsport.com last year, Crutchlow noted he was the right candidate for the Yamaha test role as the marque needed a rider who wasn’t looking to use the opportunity as a springboard back onto the MotoGP grid in 2022. 

Yamaha did come close to signing ex-Ducati rider Andrea Dovizioso as its tester, but he elected to take a sabbatical in 2021 when the offer – and those of the other test roles tabled – didn’t keep the door open for a full-time racing return in 2022.

Crutchlow’s signing as Yamaha test rider enthused its other factory riders last November, with Maverick Vinales keen for the Briton to come on board as his directness in his feedback would better aid bike development. 

shares
comments

Related video

2021 MotoGP pre-season Yamaha's toughest – Vinales

Previous article

2021 MotoGP pre-season Yamaha's toughest – Vinales

Next article

Rookies react to first MotoGP outing in Qatar shakedown

Rookies react to first MotoGP outing in Qatar shakedown
Load comments

About this article

Series MotoGP
Drivers Valentino Rossi , Cal Crutchlow
Teams Yamaha Factory Racing
Author Lewis Duncan
The impossible problem Honda faces with its 2021 MotoGP bike Prime

The impossible problem Honda faces with its 2021 MotoGP bike

Honda hasn’t enjoyed an easy start to the 2021 MotoGP campaign, despite gains last season which looked to have carried over into the pre-season. Now admitting it does have issues in serious need of resolving, it faces an almost impossible task in doing so.

How Jerez underlined MotoGP's speed problem Prime

How Jerez underlined MotoGP's speed problem

The brutal nature of a series of crashes at Jerez has reopened the debate about whether current MotoGP speeds are beyond the safety limits of the tracks. But even if riders are supportive of the move, getting the manufacturers to find a consensus on how speed reductions should be achieved may be altogether harder

MotoGP
May 4, 2021
How a Crutchlow helped Miller to Jerez MotoGP redemption Prime

How a Crutchlow helped Miller to Jerez MotoGP redemption

Jack Miller’s tough start to life as a factory Ducati MotoGP rider left him mentally battered and bruised, but a pep talk and positive reinforcement from a surprising source aided the Australian to show his full potential with victory at the Spanish Grand Prix

MotoGP
May 3, 2021
What does Marc Marquez have to do to get back to his best? Prime

What does Marc Marquez have to do to get back to his best?

Following his resounding MotoGP return with a seventh place finish in Portugal, Marc Marquez now must work to rediscover his best form before turning his attention towards results-based targets

MotoGP
Apr 20, 2021
How Yamaha's rookie-spec MotoGP star is taking charge Prime

How Yamaha's rookie-spec MotoGP star is taking charge

Fabio Quartararo is on a roll in 2021 after storming to victory at a venue five months earlier served up one of his worst races. Contrasting Portuguese GPs for Yamaha's factory duo make it hard to understand just how good its 2021 MotoGP bike is, but the Portimao weekend did at least expose one key improvement compared to 2020

MotoGP
Apr 19, 2021
The hurdles Marquez faces next in his Portugal MotoGP return Prime

The hurdles Marquez faces next in his Portugal MotoGP return

Even by Marc Marquez’s own high standards, his MotoGP comeback on Friday at the Portuguese Grand Prix will be considered a success even if he didn’t top the times. But having shown competitive pace on his first day back, both Marquez and his rivals know plenty more challenges are to come...

MotoGP
Apr 16, 2021
Where does Espargaro sit ahead of Marquez's return? Prime

Where does Espargaro sit ahead of Marquez's return?

Pol Espargaro’s first results as a Honda MotoGP rider may not appear special. But dig a little deeper and a clearer picture of his performance emerges. And, as Lewis Duncan writes, it’s cause for celebration at Honda with the return of Marc Marquez set to provide Espargaro with the reference he has been missing so far this year

MotoGP
Apr 12, 2021
The "pit bull" MotoGP rookie already drawing legendary comparisons Prime

The "pit bull" MotoGP rookie already drawing legendary comparisons

MotoGP’s 2021 rookie crop is one of the strongest in recent years, but one is already standing out. Jorge Martin’s Doha GP heroics have courted many to compare him to numerous MotoGP legends. Autosport spoke to Pramac boss Francesco Guidotti to find out why MotoGP’s latest Spanish star is already making such an impact

MotoGP
Apr 9, 2021