Yamaha Racing managing director Lin Jarvis insists the factory 'won't make the same mistake twice' by ensuring its new MotoGP test rider Cal Crutchlow has an intensive 2021 track schedule.

The Japanese manufacturer had to scrap much of this year's planned development program with triple MotoGP champion Jorge Lorenzo due to Covid travel restrictions, leaving Yamaha with the least European testing laps of any manufacturer.

"We had a full testing programme planned for Jorge Lorenzo but we were using a Japanese testing team with some European staff and in reality we only ran him for two days in Sepang and then the pre-Portimao test [on 2019 spec bikes]," Jarvis said.

To make matters worse, Yamaha's testing drought came at a time when its Factory-Spec riders were crying out for progress in solving inconsistent performance issues with the newest M1, causing them to slip irreversibly down the points table.

The bike had won four of the opening eight rounds of the season in the hands of long-time world championship leader Fabio Quartararo (3) and Maverick Vinales (1), but only the A-Spec machine of eventual title runner-up Franco Morbidelli (3 wins) featured on the podium in the last six events.

"We're not going to make the same mistake twice," Jarvis said. "We will definitely be running a more intensive test programme next year.

"We have a lot of information from this year, so our engineers will change the chassis and work on improving [consistency of the bike].

"We'll have Cal's testing feedback, plus the official pre-season testing, so we are quite confident we can fix this issue next year."

"Taking Cal on board is a sign of our intention," Jarvis added. "We are fully confident that we've made a very good choice with Cal. I believe Cal is a real worker, he's really hungry to get stuck into this project."

Jarvis indicated the factory's decision to drop Lorenzo in favour of Crutchlow, whose ten-year MotoGP career came to an end at Portimao last month, came down to bike fitness and showing 'a real passion to do this job'.

"Selecting Cal as opposed to renewing with Jorge - what we have seen anyway, when he did the first shakedown test in Sepang it was already four months since Jorge had ridden a bike in anger. And actually we didn’t test anything, but Jorge got himself up to speed," Jarvis said.

"Then we couldn't do any testing due to the Covid situation until Portimao and again Jorge had not spent any time on a bike during these many months.

"I think our decision was based on the fact that Cal is coming out of a complete grand prix season. Jorge in the meantime has been one whole year or almost 1.5 years away from a competitive grand prix season.

"Cal is shall we say race fit, ready to go and he was available. He showed a real passion to do this job and we think he's the right choice for us at this moment."

Crutchlow - who raced for satellite Yamaha, factory Ducati and satellite Honda teams during his grand prix career, winning three races on an RCV - is due to make his Yamaha testing debut at Sepang in February. Wild-card race appearances are also possible.

 

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