MotoGP: Crutchlow Runs Fiat Yamaha M1

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2011 MotoGP

Two weeks ago, Cal Crutchlow took a win and a second-place finish at Magny Cours in France for the final round of the 2010 World Superbike Championship. The Brit wrapped up his rookie season with fifth place in the final standings, and achieved the “Rookie of the Year” Superbike award.

But besides France being the final race of 2010 on the Yamaha YZF-R1, it was also Crutchlow’s final WSBK race; for 2011, the Brit has taken Ben Spies vacant spot on the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha M1 in MotoGP.

And he got his first taste of the MotoGP Yamaha M1 after two days of testing at Yamaha’s test track in Fukuroi, Japan.

Conditions at the track were wet and damp, and Crutchlow posted some impressive speeds while running on full wet and slick Bridgestone tires. While at the test facility, Crutchlow also had some practice launching the powerful MotoGP Yamaha M1.

Cal Crutchlow says: “The M1 felt a lot smaller than my Yamaha R1 superbike. I actually found the positioning more comfortable than the WSB machine. There is a lot of power but it feels very usable, it felt very different to a production based machine in terms of its delivery. In the wet we used the normal steel brakes but when it started to dry I had a chance to try the carbon ones which were cool, I managed to get quite comfortable with them.”

“I found the chassis very stiff, it was really easy to change direction and the electronics were really different, even more advanced than the high level I’m used to in Superbike! It was a shame the weather wasn’t great so I wasn’t able to push to the bike’s full potential, I’m really looking forward to the Valencia test so I can get back on it and give it a proper work out!”

While at the MotoGP test facility, Crutchlow also took a tour of Yamaha Motor Company headquarters and the Communication Plaza in Shizuoka where he had an opportunity to get up close to some of Yamaha’s historic and iconic machinery from past and present.

Next up for Crutchlow will be the Valencia MotoGP tests on Nov. 9 and 10, where he will be riding with his teammate, the American Colin Edwards.

Crutchlow and Spies seem to be on similar paths through the racing world. In 2009, Spies moved from AMA Superbike racing to the World Superbike Championship, winning the title in his rookie season.

Then he picked up the seat on the Monster Yamaha Tech 3, and with two races remaining in the 2010 MotoGP Championship (Portugal and Valencia), the Texan has already clinched the “Rookie of the Year” award, just as Crutchlow did in this World Superbike this year.

It was confirmed a few weeks ago that Spies will replace Valentino Rossi on the factory Yamaha M1 for the 2011 MotoGP season, with Rossi moving to the Factory Ducati team.

In 2009, as Spies was dominating World Superbike, Crutchlow was doing the same in World Supersport. That year was Crutchlow’s rookie year, and he took the title after taking five wins and 10 pole positions.

Crutchlow has signed a two-year MotoGP contract. Yamaha says Crutchlow has demonstrated his world-class pedigree again in 2010 after a series of blisteringly fast performances in World Superbikes on board Yamaha’s YZF-R1 motorcycle.