Cal Crutchlow expects MotoGP to continue producing surprise race winners in 2021 after a record nine riders (pictured) stood on the top step of the podium last season.

That tied with the number of different winners seen in 2016, but that tally was over 18 events whereas last year's world championship took place over just 14 rounds due to the Covid changes.

15 different riders also claimed a rostrum finish.

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"Honestly I do, I think you're going to keep seeing these surprise winners and a lot of [different] guys on the podium over the year because everybody is on a factory bike essentially," said Crutchlow, after concluding his full-time premier-class career at Portimao.

"Carmelo's done a fantastic job of the rules to make the racing this competitive and this close and with all battles throughout the field. And everybody has a good bike now.

"Some riders can ride with the new tyres, some riders can't, but the people who struggled with them will maybe grow up with the tyre a little bit more and be able to be more competitive next season.

"Over 14 races, you saw some great racing and I'm sure you'll continue to see that next season even if it's a 'normal' championship as such. But I believe you'll have a lot of different winners [again]."

With reigning six-time MotoGP champion Marc Marquez sidelined with a broken arm at round one, last season went on to produce a surprise world championship victory for Joan Mir and Suzuki.

Crutchlow hopes to see another new premier-class champion crowned in 2021 in the form of good friend Jack Miller, who moves to the Official Ducati team.

"From my side obviously, I want to see Jack win… He's gone for it in these last races and there's no reason why he can't go for the title [in 2021]," Crutchlow said. "I also look forward to seeing Marc come back because he's been dominant so much over the last years and deserves to be on the grid.

"It'll be different for me, watching it from afar, but I look forward to seeing it as much as [the media] and the fans will."

Crutchlow is switching to the role of Yamaha's factory MotoGP test rider for 2021, but the exact date of his return to the M1 is now unclear following the cancellation of the Sepang tests.