Yamaha's World Superbike team says it will bid Cal Crutchlow a fond farewell when he makes his move to MotoGP at the end of the season, even if it admits they would have liked him to stay for another season.
Crutchlow will make his now confirmed switch to MotoGP with the Tech 3 Yamaha team in 2011 after just a single season at World Superbike level, the Briton following directly in the footsteps of Ben Spies.
Describing the move as the 'natural progression' for him having made his debut with Yamaha in the World Supersport Championship last season, Crutchlow has expressed his excitement and 'honour' at being asked to join the MotoGP ranks.
“Being part of the Yamaha Sterilgarda World Superbike Team has been fantastic,” he said. “When I first signed with Yamaha for the 2009 World Supersport Championship we went on to win the World Championship and the natural progression was to move to World Superbike. It was an honour to be asked to be part of the team and to remain as part of the Yamaha family.
“Now I'm again taking another step and I am being brought through to the Tech3 Team as they have done with other riders such as Ben Spies in the past. I first rode for Yamaha in 2003 in the R6 Cup so have a great history with them.
“Moving to MotoGP is a great opportunity for me, it was an honour to be asked by Herve Poncheral and for Yamaha to back me. I intend to do the best job I can with the team next year, be humble, learn and enjoy the experience.”
Though Crutchlow's first season in World Superbikes has been far from smooth, his five pole positions and two race wins at Silverstone have convinced Yamaha that he is ready to make the move up.
However, while Yamaha Motor Europe Racing Manager Laurens Klein Koerkamp is disappointed Crutchlow is not staying to fight for the 2011 WSBK title, he proud to have bred another burgeoning talent.
“I'm delighted we had the opportunity to work with Cal to take the World Supersport title last year and compete this year in World Superbike,” he said. “On one side we would have liked to go for the World Superbike title in 2011 but given the opportunities at this moment for Yamaha and Cal it is a great move.
“Again we are showing that our policy of bringing young riders up through the various racing classes to the top tier in MotoGP is proving successful. Cal deserves this opportunity, he is a highly professional racer and completely dedicated to training for success. We believe he has what it takes to fight for success at the highest levels.”