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.