Crutchlow: Dovizioso will not find it easy at Yamaha

Andrea Dovizioso

Cal Crutchlow has warned that Andrea Dovizioso will not have an easy time when he returns to MotoGP on a Yamaha.

The Italian is set to bring his ‘sabbatical’ to an end by linking with the Iwata manufacturer to ride for its satellite team, SRT, from this month’s San Marino Grand Prix.

That move would help facilitate Franco Morbidelli’s promotion from SRT to Monster Energy Yamaha, following Maverick Viñales’ spectacular exit last month.

Dovizioso has tested for Aprilia this year but has not raced since the final round of 2020, the Portuguese Grand Prix, which marked the end of an eight-year stint with Ducati.

That means that the 15-time MotoGP race winner has become accustomed to riding the fastest bike in the MotoGP field in a straight line.

While Yamaha has seemingly improved in that regard, and is leading the championship courtesy of Fabio Quartararo, the M1s are still noticeably down on power compared to the Desmosedicis.

That is a point which Crutchlow, who moved into a test rider role with Yamaha this year after bringing his racing career to an end at LCR Honda, drew attention to.

“He’s been riding the Ducati for so long and his advantage is definitely not the advantage here,” said the Briton of Dovizioso riding a Yamaha.

“The advantage he had on the Ducati is definitely not the advantage here.

“It’s not going to be easy, that’s for sure. Obviously, I’ll be working with him as [will] all the other Yamaha riders and we’ll understand the situation when he starts to ride.”

Making matters worse initially, Dovizioso is likely to get the ‘A-Spec’ 2019 M1 package which Morbidelli had been riding, while Valentino Rossi sees out his career with current-spec machinery on the other SRT entry.

However, the 15-time MotoGP race winner is set to stick around in 2022 as part of his deal, at which time he would be also be handed Yamaha’s latest bike to race for whatever team replaces SRT on the grid.

That means both he and Crutchlow will be riding the same motorcycle, having been team-mates in 2012 at Tech3, when it was a Yamaha team, and in 2014 at the factory Ducati team.

Cal Crutchlow (#35) and Dovizioso (#04) as Ducati team-mates in 2014. Picture: MotoGP.com

Crutchlow explained that while he has a different style to Dovizioso, they nevertheless work well together.

“I don’t know what he can bring to Yamaha,” said the Yamaha incumbent of his fellow veteran.

“I think it’s going to be a lot different to what he’s used to. He’s been used to a lot of power in the straight and Dovi is a great rider, he’s a great guy, and I think he’ll do very, very well.

“I hope he does well, obviously, and the good thing is some of the tests next year I will be at, he will be at, we work in a similar way.

“[We’re] completely different riders as such, but we have a great understanding of what is correct and what is not correct. I think he’ll be good and hopefully he can work it out.

“But I think he’s going to feel a big, big difference to what he used to feel.”

Crutchlow will ride for the factory Yamaha team again in this weekend’s Aragon Grand Prix, and Jake Dixon on the second SRT entry, before the changes are set to take effect a week later at Misano.

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