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Cal Crutchlow stays at Ducati

19 July 2014

Cal Crutchlow will take up his 2015 option and remain with the factory Ducati MotoGP team next season.

The announcement was made on Saturday during World Ducati Week at Misano - just hours after a Ducati presentation confirmed that team-mate Andrea Dovizioso had re-signed for the next two seasons.

Ducati MotoGP Project Director Paolo Ciabatti stated: "Dovizioso has renewed his contract this morning, Cal has a contract with us for next season and he will continue in the official team next year."

Crutchlow has endured a nightmare start to his Desmosedici career, with a series of technical problems, accidents and a hand injury meaning he has finished just four of a possible nine races.

When the machine has been running correctly, its handling limitations have left Crutchlow unable to get near his Tech 3 Yamaha form, which took him to four podiums and fifth in last year's world championship. The Englishman is currently 14th in the standings with a best result of sixth.

However new Ducati Corse general manager Gigi Dall'Igna's full design influence will not be felt until next year's Desmosedici, due to debut at the Valencia post season test. Dall'Igna has said that a new, smaller, engine will be the first step for the 2015 Ducati. The engine will still have a 90-degree V-angle, as also used by Honda.

The news of an unchanged factory Ducati line-up quashes Andrea Iannone's hopes of graduating from Pramac to the official team... unless the official team expands to three machines. Either way, Iannone (contracted directly to Ducati) will continue to have a full factory bike. The Ducati deals also increase speculation over the 2015 Suzuki line-up, with both Dovizioso and Crutchlow having been high on the Japanese factory's list of targets.

While Dovizioso's contract was up for renewal, it was down to Crutchlow to decide if he wished to stay for year two of his existing contract.

Ducati joins Repsol Honda (Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa) in completing its 2015 Factory team line-up. Valentino Rossi has also re-signed for Yamaha, but team-mate Jorge Lorenzo is yet to complete his contract extension.

Suzuki, returning to MotoGP next season, is still to announce any riders but is now being linked with reigning Moto3 champion and rookie Moto2 race winner Maverick Vinales. Aleix Espargaro, which some of the Spanish media reported as being in the frame for the factory Ducati team, is also a likely candidate.

Two further Factory rides may also appear at Aprilia, which is contemplating bringing its official return forward by one year to 2015.

Due to its victory drought Ducati (like Suzuki and possibly Aprilia next season) can race with the same concessions as the Open class until 2016, when a control ECU is introduced.

However three dry podiums will see race fuel reduced from 24 to 22 litres - Honda and Yamaha Factory class riders are restricted to 20 litres - while three wins would also mean the loss of the softer rear tyre. Of Dovizioso's two Ducati podiums, one has been in a dry race.

Engine changes and extra testing options will be unchanged regardless of results until 2016, when Michelin will also replace Bridgestone as exclusive tyre supplier.


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