MotoGP: Cal Crutchlow to ride for Ducati next season after signing two-year deal
Last Updated: 02/08/13 6:14pm
Cal Crutchlow: Has opted for a move to Ducati
British MotoGP rider Cal Crutchlow will ride for Ducati next season after signing a two-year contract.
Crutchlow has decided to switch to a factory bike rather than stick with his Yamaha Tech 3 team on an improved deal.
The 2006 world champion Nicky Hayden is to leave Ducati at the end of the season and Crutchlow will replace the American, and will therefore link up with his former Tech 3 team mate Andrea Dovizioso.
The 27-year-old Crutchlow is enjoying a successful 2013 season and is fifth in the championship standings, having made the podium on four occasions.
He will now become the first British rider in a MotoGP factory team since 2004 while his place at Tech 3 goes to Spaniard Pol Esparago.
Crutchlow's move to Ducati is seen as something of a gamble but, with the factory Yamaha seats occupied by Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi, Crutchlow had to leave in order to fulfil his aim of racing a full factory specification machine next year.
He wrote on his Twitter feed: "So, it's now official! I will ride for Ducati next season in MotoGP.
"I will do my best with this project and believe that I will have great support from a manufacturer and team that believe in me.
"My Tech3 team have been absolutely amazing over the last three years and I'll be very very sad to leave! Certainly give them my all for the rest of year."
And a Ducati Racing statement read: "Ducati has reached an agreement with Cal Crutchlow that will have the Briton campaigning the 2014 and 2015 MotoGP race seasons with the Ducati Team.
"Crutchlow will race alongside Andrea Dovizioso. The British rider and the Italian, who were team-mates in 2012, will work on developing the Desmosedici and growing Ducati's MotoGP project.
"The 2009 World Supersport champion and 2011 MotoGP Rookie of the Year, Crutchlow is presently enjoying his strongest GP season to date, sitting fifth in the championship points standings.
"He has posted four podium finishes in the first nine races, and he earned his first MotoGP pole position at the Dutch TT.
"The end of the 2013 season will also mark the completion of Nicky Hayden's five-year professional relationship with the Ducati Team.
"Ducati would like to thank Nicky for his contributions during that time, and everyone on the team and at Ducati Corse looks forward to giving him and Andrea their full support over the second half of the 2013 season."
The next leg of the 2013 season is on 18 August in Indianapolis.