Team Manager Maio Meregalli of Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP is optimistic that the Iwata factory can reach a deal with Test Rider Cal Crutchlow to have the British rider make several wildcard appearances in 2023.
Yamaha will not have an Independent Team for the 2023 season as RNF MotoGP switched to Aprilia equipment at the conclusion of the 2022 season, with Miguel Oliveira and Raul Fernandez making their debuts on the RS-GP during the Valencia Test. This implies that 2021 World Champion Fabio Quartararo and his teammate Franco Morbidelli will be the only two YZR-M1s competing regularly.
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Crutchlow and Darryn Binder stood in for Andrea Dovizioso for the remaining six races of the season after the latter announced his retirement before the end of the San Marino GP. Crutchlow has been nothing short of amazing as well, winning three races in the elite class of Grand Prix competition and finishing in the points in all but two of those races.
Crutchlow was also a significant supporter of Quartararo. Competing head-to-head with Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Crew), the Frenchman and his team gained useful insight by testing tyre specs and bike settings they otherwise wouldn’t have tested during the weekend. Yamaha is counting on Crutchlow to make more wildcard appearances this season, especially because having a satellite team would be counterproductive.
In the words of Meregalli, “Cal, when he came back replacing Dovi, he offered us some assistance since we could share certain duties.” from the MotoGP Podcast in Valencia. He’s been to Jerez before coming here, he’s a hard worker, and he’s doing really well in his races and testing. His insights can be trusted since they are almost always supported by evidence. This is quite useful.
We saw what we can get from him, and having a third rider in at least three races would be helpful, so we will be discussing the possibility of doing wildcards for next year, when we won’t have a satellite team.
Yamaha faces a crucial offseason as it prepares to release a revised YZR-M1 in 2023. When competing in Grand Prix events, will Crutchlow sometimes join Quartararo and Morbidelli? Only time can tell.