Reigning World Supersport champion and 2010 World Superbike race winner Cal Crutchlow has signed to ride for Monster Yamaha Tech 3 in MotoGP for the next two seasons.

The move has been rumoured ever since Crutchlow came close to a stand-in ride for the satellite team in the aftermath of Valentino Rossi's Mugello injury, and means that the UK will once again have a premier-class rider.

Crutchlow takes the place of Ben Spies, who also moved from Yamaha's factory-backed WSBK team to MotoGP with Tech 3, and who has now been promoted to take Rossi's place for 2011.

Crutchlow, who took his first WSBK wins with a double home victory at Silverstone, could partner Colin Edwards, who is in talks to remain at Tech 3 for a third season.

"It is hard for me to explain how excited I am about the prospect of riding in MotoGP next season with the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team," said Crutchlow.

"Joining MotoGP is like a dream come true for me, and I want to thank Yamaha and Herve Poncharal for giving me such a wonderful opportunity. Yamaha have been fantastic to me and without their incredible support I wouldn't be where I am today. And I'm really looking forward to working with the Tech 3 Team.

"They are a very professional team with a lot of experience and I'm sure they will be able to help me develop even more as a rider. I am under no illusions about how difficult this challenge will be. But I have always loved a challenge and I'm relishing this one.

"To think I will be racing against the likes of Valentino Rossi, who I grew up being a massive fan of, is a really exciting prospect and I can't wait for 2011.

"I intend to do the best job I can with the team next year, be humble, learn and enjoy the experience."

"I am delighted that a rider of Cal's calibre will ride for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team," stated Tech 3 team manager Herve Poncharal. "He has shown with his World Supersport success in 2009 and with a series of outstanding performances in World Superbikes this year what an exciting prospect he is for the future.

"I think he is ready to test himself against the very best in the world and I'm really looking forward to working with him. He is a very talented rider and he has an unbelievable desire to succeed.

"Ben has proven this year that with talent, hard work and determination you can make a successful switch from World Superbikes to MotoGP. I have no doubt that Cal has the potential to emulate Ben's success in the future.

"I am sure the combination of Cal, Yamaha and Tech 3 will be a strong one and I can't wait to start this exciting new adventure in our history."

Crutchlow is fifth in the World Superbike standings with two rounds to go.

The last British rider in MotoGP was Crutchlow's team-mate James Toseland, who rode with Tech 3 in 2008 and 2009 before returning to WSBK this season.