Meregalli hopeful for Crutchlow wildcards in 2023

Speaking on the MotoGP™ Podcast, Monster Energy Yamaha’s Team Manager hopes the British rider will take part in three races next season

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™’s Team Manager Maio Meregalli is hopeful the Iwata factory can come to an agreement with Test Rider Cal Crutchlow for the British rider to take part in some wildcard appearances in 2023.

Cal Crutchlow, Withu Yamaha RNF MotoGP™ Team, Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana

After RNF MotoGP™ made the switch to Aprilia machinery at the end of the 2022 season – with Miguel Oliveira and Raul Fernandez making their debuts on the RS-GP at the Valencia Test – Yamaha have been left without an Independent Team for the 2023 campaign. This means the only two YZR-M1s on track full-time will be 2021 World Champion Fabio Quartararo and teammate Franco Morbidelli.

After Andrea Dovizioso announced his premature retirement would come after the conclusion of the San Marino GP, Crutchlow filled the void alongside Darryn Binder for the final six races of the season. The three-time premier class Grand Prix race winner has been nothing short of brilliant too, with Crutchlow scoring points in all but two of the races he’s taken part in.

What’s more, Crutchlow was a key ally to Quartararo. Testing different tyre specifications and bike settings throughout the weekend that otherwise wouldn’t have been tried gave the Frenchman and his team valuable information as they went head-to-head with Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) in the title race. And with the usefulness of a satellite team not an option next season, Yamaha hope Crutchlow can take part in some wildcard appearances.

“Cal, when he came back replacing Dovi, he gave us some help because we could share some jobs,” said Meregalli on the MotoGP™ Podcast in Valencia. “He’s doing very well, doing races, tests, he went to Jerez before coming here, he’s a really good worker. His experience is very touchable, we can see his comments are always matched by the data most of the time. This is a big help.

“Especially for next year when we won’t have a satellite team, to do wildcards will be very important and it’s a matter we will discuss very soon because we saw what we can get from him, and to have a third rider in at least three races, it will help.”

A big winter rears its head for Yamaha as they place their efforts into building a more competitive YZR-M1 for 2023. Will we see Crutchlow racing alongside Quartararo and Morbidelli at some GPs? Time will tell. 

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