Yamaha has confirmed the expected news that Cal Crutchlow is to leave Monster Yamaha Tech 3 after announcing that current Moto2 racer Pol Espargaro will race for the satellite team next year.
News that Crutchlow has decided to leave Tech 3 to join Ducati's factory MotoGP outfit was leaked on Thursday
, with official confirmation arriving on Friday.
Crutchlow joined Tech 3 as a MotoGP rookie in 2011, rebounded from a tough debut campaign to take his first rostrums last year, then continued his upward trajectory to become the top satellite rider so far in 2013.
The Englishman has signed a two-year deal to ride alongside Andrea Dovizioso, his team-mate at Tech 3 last season.
As widely anticipated, Moto2 title contender Espargaro will now replace Crutchlow as he makes his move up to the premier category. Current Tech 3 MotoGP rookie Bradley Smith already has a deal for next season.
22-year-old Espargaro, who finished runner-up to current MotoGP leader Marc Marquez in Moto2 last season, has signed a two-year deal directly with Yamaha - the first season of which will be spent in Tech 3 colours.
With Factory Yamaha riders Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo both contracted until the end of 2014, Espargaro is then likely to be first in line should a vacancy emerge at the official team for 2015.
“Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd is delighted to be able to announce that it has concluded a two-year agreement with current Spanish Moto2 rider Pol Espargaro,” a Yamaha statement read.
“As a result of this contract the 22-year-old will make his MotoGP debut in 2014 with the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team and will ride the Yamaha YZR-M1.
“Pol Espargaro is enjoying his third season as a key protagonist in the Moto2 Class and is currently lying second in the Championship standings.”
Pol joins his older brother Aleix in MotoGP, the 24-year-old currently dominating the privateer CRT class on the Aspar ART.
Scott Redding, who currently leads Espargaro in the Moto2 standings, announced during Thursday's BT Sport launch that he will join MotoGP next year, although the bike and team remains unknown.