PHOTOGRAPHY BY GOLD & GOOSE
The BBC is reporting today that Cal Crutchlow has inked a two-year contract to race with Ducati in the MotoGP World Championship for the 2014/2015 seasons. The official announcement is expected to come from Ducati on Friday with an announcement to follow shortly thereafter that current Moto2 rider Pol Espargaro is set to replace Crutchlow on the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha team.
Crutchlow is currently fifth in the 2013 championship, one point behind Valentino Rossi heading into the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix on August 18.
Crutchlow has been wanting a factory ride and his preference was to stay with Yamaha, but with Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi locked into the factory team and Espargaro and Bradley Smith already signed up for 2014 on the satellite Tech 3 team, there wasn’t a spot for the four-time podium finisher. Honda’s line-up is also in place with Dani Pedrosa and Marc Marquez signed for another season on the factory Repsol team.
Crutchlow will replace Nicky Hayden on the Ducati team, joining his former Tech 3 teammate Andrea Dovizioso.
The challenge for the 27-year-old Crutchlow will be to find success where no one other than Casey Stoner has been able.
And he doesn’t have to look any farther than his teammate last year and his teammate for next year, Dovizioso. In 2012 on the Tech 3 Yamaha, the Italian finished fourth in the MotoGP World Championship with six podiums. This year Dovizioso is seventh in the series at the halfway mark with a best finish of fourth in France. His other best results have been four seventh-place finishes on this year’s Ducati.
The most famous to make the jump to Ducati was Rossi, the Italian putting the bike on the podium three times in his dismal two seasons there. After moving back to Yamaha for 2013, Rossi has four podiums and a victory at the halfway mark in this year’s series.
The last time Ducati won a MotoGP was at Phillip Island in 2010 with Stoner.
With Audi taking over Ducati much more was expected this season, but so far changes have come slowly, leaving both Dovizioso and Hayden frustrated.