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BBC Report: Cal Crutchlow Signs Two-Year Deal With Ducati for Hayden’s Empty Seat

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Cal Crutchlow’s dream of a factory ride in MotoGP has apparently come true, according to a report published by the BBC this morning.  The deal is claimed to be for a Ducati factory ride during the 2014 and 2015 seasons, alongside Crutchlow’s former Tech3 Yamaha teammate Andrea Dovizioso.

No official word yet on the fate of Nicky Hayden, although there is some indication Ducati is trying to keep him in the family, perhaps aboard a superbike in WSB next  year.

Ducati is expected to issue an official press release confirming Crutchlow’s employment within the next few days.  Crutchlow is generally considered the top non-factory rider in MotoGP at the moment.  He has beaten all other non-factory riders this year in every round, except two.

55 Comments

  1. WSBK is far more competitve than MotoGP. From a racers stand point, Nicky may see it as a parallel step, but the money is just as good. The media coverage is just as good (euro wise) and the competition is just as good if not better. The WSBK series, as you know, uses consumer based bikes, of course highly modified, but none the less, it’s a bike that requires far more rider input and skill than a MotoGP bike. However, with that being said, there are more advancements in WSBK bikes due to increased advancements into consumer bikes. None the less the bikes are not one off’s and aren’t developed with factory only parts.

    Regardless of any of this, Nicky is a great rider and haven given the chance to have a bike that works for “HIM” instead of what’s best for the factory, i.e. Ducati, he’ll do a great job and spend more time on the podium than in the pits negotiating with the crew chiefs begging for something that works.

    I wish Nicky the best and look forward to seeing him on whatever seat he signs with.

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    • mickey says:

      More competitive? FYI the top 5 riders in MotoGP are closer in points, than the top 5 riders in WSBK

      I seriuosly doubt that Nicky will be making equal pay for riding a WSBK bike vs a MotoGP bike.

      Report this comment

  2. Norm G. says:

    with that sorted. next question… where’s hayden going…?

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    • mickey says:

      WSBK..back to the minors

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      • Jim says:

        He was never in WSBK.

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        • mickey says:

          I know, but that’s where he is supposedly headed..i should not have said back, but down

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          • Dave says:

            WSBK is not the “minors”. It is a far more competitive series than MotoGP, where there exactly 4 riders with a chance to win when everyone is healthy.

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          • mickey says:

            Yea keep thinking that Dave.

            Do you think Hayden would view the move to WSBK as a parallel move or a move down? Are MotoGP riders clamoring to go to WSBK? Or is it the other way around?

            As far as being more competitive, not so. In WSBK there are also 4 riders with a realistic chance of winning the championship..Guintoli, Sykes,Melandri and Laverty. If you think someone other than one of those 4 is going to win it, I think you are wrong.

            I’ve watched WSBK and its similar to MotoGP in that there are 3 or 4 riders in the lead group, 3 or 4 riders in a second group, and then theres the rest.

            That’s where they should stick the CRT’s, in WSBK. They would be far more competitve there, than trying to run them in the premier class.

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  3. Roberto says:

    Look for Pol Espargaro to consistently finish ahead of him on the Tech 3 Yamaha. Still, it’s all about a factory ride in MotoGP (unless you’re Ben Spies).

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  4. Ricardo says:

    Good for Cal, he has to take the opportunity with Ducati, if Yamaha did not offer him a factory ride, why would he stay another year just watching the other guys getting nice contracts? yes you have to love the sport but you also need to make a living and provide for your family once your racing career is over…plus, and this is a big plus, he will probably make more money on publicity as Ducati has better branding than the japanese comapnies.

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    • Norm G. says:

      re: “you also need to make a living and provide for your family once your racing career is over”

      particularly provide your family in the event you find your racing career ABRUPTLY over. see entries for antonelli 2013, polita 2013, lascorz 2012, simo 2011, tomizawa 2010, etc.

      observe that out of all these recent fatalities/career enders only 1 occurred on a fire breathing prototype…? hell, joey got killed riding a 125. so whether a 213 or wobbling CRT, death is an equal opportunity employer.

      screw you, pay me. (ray liotta voice)

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  5. Karlsbad says:

    Maybe Spies has it right , GP is not the all wonderful venue it once was , he sits out a while waits for Nicky , Colin and who ever else says the hell with GP and they all end up in WSBK.
    CBS or some other media giant picks the races up now that it is full of US content and support (AKA Red Bull , Monster Energy , Budweiser) we get to watch some competitive racing once again. Throw in a few international riders maybe a few guys from AMA
    Hey we all need a dream right ?

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  6. LarryC says:

    To all you naysayers: At least Ducati are still trying, and apparently plan to continue to do so. It seems they are serious enough about it to pop for a top-flight rider. Would you rather just watch the Honda/Yamaha show?

    Don’t give up hope that the Audi connection won’t yield positive results. It seems everyone thought an infusion of German money would yield results the next day. It will take awhile to develop a competitive bike. I doubt Audi’s number one priority was to get MotoGP program sorted. Hopefully by 2014 it will be on the radar.

    I don’t buy the argument that Ducati “missed their chance” with Rossi and Burgess. Despite fevered ravings by Rossi’s fanboys, he’s never been known as a development rider. In fact, all Rossi could do is complain about the bike. Who knows what the internal politics/problems may have been at Ducati? There must be someone at Bologna that still believes in the MotoGP program.

    Assume Crutchlow hadn’t signed with Ducati. What would you have him do? Ride a CRT bike? Go to WSB? Yamaha were foolish for letting him get away. To most observers it was obvious that he should have Rossi’s ride.

    Two of the biggest problems with MotoGP are too few seats available and too few manufacturers participating. Where’s options to ride Suzuki, Kawasaki, Aprilia or BMW factory bikes? We’re in the situation of having more deserving riders than bikes available.

    Good luck to Crutch and Ducati.

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  7. Vrooom says:

    I’m not quite as willing to write off Ducati completely as most of you, but there’s no arguing that they aren’t in a competitive place and haven’t been for years now. Cal is getting a top tier paycheck to race, racers careers are short, so a chance at the top echelon is a big deal. I get why he’s doing it, despite the obvious performance deficit. He’s done incredible things on a non-factory Yamaha, maybe he thinks he can do just as well for more money on a sub-par Ducati.

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    • RD350 says:

      Cal will finish 7th or 8th just like Nicky and Dovi.

      Dovi is a top rider and did extremely well on a factory Honda. When he was teammates with Cal at Tech3, he often finished ahead of Cal.

      Nicky often finishes ahead of Dovi ..

      So if Nicky cant ride the bike, and Dovi cant ride the bike and Rossi couldn’t ride the bike, what makes anybody think Cal can ride the bike?

      He will push hard at first .. and he will crash. Then he will settle in to 7th or 8th with Dovi.

      • BlackCayman says:

        Many might not see the move as a step up. I’d bet his paycheck just went up. He didn’t get an offer to ride for Honda or Yamaha on their Factory teams so why blast him on moving up one notch to a factory ride?

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  8. RD350 says:

    I dont think Cal had a choice.
    Cal wanted a Yamaha factory ride and they said no.
    His seat at Tech 3 is going to Pol Espargaro. There are no other factory openings at Yamaha or Honda.
    So what was he supposed to do?

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  9. endoman38 says:

    Sorry to hear that, Cal.

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  10. Jack says:

    I think Ducati is grasping at straws and is in desperation mode right now. They should be devoting 100% on improving the bike. At this point it is fairly obvious that the rider is not making any difference and the bike is the problem. Everyone says Stoner was able to ride it but how much different of a bike is it now? I would love to see Ducati pay Stoner to ride and test it for a spell and see where it stands.

    I wish Cal the best and hope they get the thing competitive because the racing can only get better with a another manufacturer fighting for a win.

    Nicky will be great in WSB. He has nothing to be ashamed of. He is a World Champion, something a lot of great riders can’t claim.

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    • Norm G. says:

      re: “They should be devoting 100% on improving the bike. At this point it is fairly obvious that the rider is not making any difference and the bike is the problem.”

      i’m starting to question if they really care about that. now that motogp’s clearly in the era of reality TV and “kayfabe”, it would seem it’s FAAAR cheaper publicity to just rotate bodies on and off your bike…? than throwing millions down a rat hole to build kit that can challenge the top step of the podium…? a top step that seems to be pre-ordained.

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  11. PatrickD says:

    Lots of Hayden apologists here as expected, but he’s been on factory seats his whole career. He’s been the wingman since 2007. Aside from US marketing, why give him a seat at the top table? No one in their right mind would consider him close to the top four riders in the world, whereas Cal might just do that. He’s been boxed in at Yamaha, probably gone as far there as he’s likely to, and it’s worth a gamble that within two years. With the investment coming, it’ll perhaps come good for him.

    Oh yeah, and as for the ‘holier-than-thou’ brigade, he’s getting paid to ride a motorbike for a living. Not a bad way to earn a living. Sold his soul? Give me a break!

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    • Jack says:

      I disagree about Nicky. I think he could still be competitive on a competitive machine. He won a championship on the Honda, a bike that was developed around Pedrosa. Hey Nicky, let’s try this new swing arm, fork, clutch, brakes and so on while Dani worked on race set up. I remember seeing Nicky on that Honda and he looked like a bear riding a tricycle.

      Then he goes to Ducati and for the most part the same thing happens. Stoner gets all the oxygen, then Rossi.

      Not complaining about it, just saying that’s how it goes in racing. It’s interesting to think about what might have been if for once a machine was developed around Nicky.

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    • KevinJ says:

      Yes he’s getting paid to ride a motorcycle for a living. Which for most of us would be plenty to be happy about no matter where we finished. But I have to believe that these hyper-competitive racers are really driven to win. Probably to a degree most of us can’t even comprehend. So to transition from regularly beating factory riders on a satellite bike to battling it out with CRT riders 45 seconds behind the leader might be a little more difficult for Cal to swallow than you think – even if “he’s getting paid to ride a motorbike for a living.”

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  12. Karlsbad says:

    That’s why they call it racing, Stoner won and did so on an unrideable bike, he left at the right time, tires aside he still rode the hell out of the Duc when no one else could come close.
    I guess we shall really see what Cal is made of and if Audi will infuse any racing DNA into our beloved Ducati post haste. For now it looks like the Marc and Jorge show with special appearances by Val, Dani,Cal and anyone else lucky enough not to break a collarbone

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  13. Provologna says:

    Seems kinda arrogant and/or naive to presume one knows better to choose Cal’s employer than Cal. What? Do you think you know better than Cal what fate awaits him at Ducati? Doubtful…I usually prefer to pick my employer, than you!

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    • mickey says:

      We are not choosing Cals employer, he did that. We are just commenting on his choice. I say the same things about every big name football star that signs to play for my home team the Bengals. We call it becoming Bengal-ized. They may be great when they come, but after a few years on this team, they realize they are not going to win and they become mediocre.They can’t win on this team, and it’s likely Cal can’t win on the Duc. Hmmm new phrase…how about becoming Ducati-ized! Lol

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  14. brad says:

    enjoy the payday, you traded everything away for it.

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    • BlackCayman says:

      maybe you could explain “everything”…..

      He obviously felt like moving up to a Factory Ride was better than staying on a 2nd tier bike. If he can do better than the previous riders on the Ducati, then he looks like a hero. If not he can do what everyone else does and blame the bike.

      At worst it looks like a lateral move (bike performance)with a big payday.

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  15. mickey says:

    I like how in the picture above, he is waving goodbye to any chance of being on a podium in the near future….

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    • monsterduc1000 says:

      LMAO!!! So true!!! The Ducati is nearly unwinable unless your name is Stoner (or Bayliss :)…his one off race win at the end of the season that one year was SPECTACULAR!!!). Look at its history of great riders who sunk when they got on it. Caparossi, Melandri, Hayden, Rossi, Dovisioso and I hate to say it, but it will now be Crutchlow.

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  16. VLJ says:

    The one thing Ducati will definitely miss these next two seasons is Hayden’s grace and class. He was the ultimate team player. No matter how poorly his bike was performing he always trotted out the same old corporate-friendly bromides…

    “Come race day we’re going to give it our all.”

    “I can’t thank the team enough for how hard they’ve been working.”

    “Really looking forward to the upcoming test. I know my guys are trying their best.”

    Dovi is’t exactly Mr. Controversy either and how long did it take before he dropped his muzzle and began speaking out on how hopeless their current plight is? Rossi? Same deal.

    But Cal Crutchlow? Kid Malcontent?

    He is just going to KILL Ducati. “Hey, I was regularly fighting for the podium last year. The problem ain’t me, mate. Take it up with the paesanos. I’m just cashing checks. Whatever. At least Monaco is nice this time of year.”

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  17. John A. Kuzmenko says:

    God, I can only imagine the words that will come out of him once the season gets under way.

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    • TexinOhio says:

      Oh yeah! If he’s spent time ripping on Yamaha for lack of trick parts (and quite rightly imo) he’s going to need a whole new dictionary to figure out how to rip Ducati. Good luck to him, hope he enjoys being at the front of the grid the rest of the season. He and the rest of the Ducs will be the filling in a MotoGP sandwich.

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    • Norm G. says:

      you will not hear a peep out of him for the next 2-4 years. quiet as a church mouse him. watch.

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  18. edpix says:

    Recipe to shoot down a rising star…
    Just jump on the Duc…

    Look at Rossi, he should be completely burned out after all he went through on the Ducati yet when he switched to the Yamaha he moved up 4-5 places in his finishes which is rejuvenating him again. That says a lot about Rossi and also about the Ducati…

    Hopefully Audi is smart enough to go back to square 1 and start again because their current program and bikes are just not competitive… I think they’ll improve though because Audi won’t accept the current results especially considering their recent investment, that combined with Crutchlow pushing to prove all the naysayers wrong should bring better results but still no podiums if the rest of the field is healthy.

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  19. joe b says:

    whats wrong with the duc that they cant fix it?

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    • Tim says:

      How many years have they had to fix it? They’re no closer now.

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    • George says:

      It isn’t that they can’t fix it, it is that they won’t fix it. They haired Rossi and Jeremy Burgess and they tried to get Ducati to fix it but they wouldn’t. Jeremy said the problem is the engine is spinning the wrong direction and to correct it would require a complete redesign to incorporate a jack shaft to revers the direction in the transmission. Ducati refused to make that change.
      I do not personally understand how that affects things but no one should argue with Jeremy’s success with Honda and Yamaha dating back 30 years and something like 12 or 15 world championships…

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  20. Starmag says:

    Cal, welcome to 7th, 8th, or 9th place. You are quite a talent, think you’re better than Rossi? Stoner? Hayden? Dovi? Ballsy. I admit I might do it for the money also, and you’re not going to unseat Dani, Jorge, Val, and Marc. ( not this year anyway ). The only chance you seem to have is rear wheel steering, given the reported front end “Duck Tuck”. Still, you didn’t have to take another commenter’s advice when he said “don’t fear the reaper”.

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  21. Gary says:

    He probably got tired of the podium. He’ll take a break from it now.

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  22. KevinJ says:

    He’s gotta feel like he sold his soul to the devil in exchange for a fat paycheck. If he rides around in 8th place for two years on the Duc, what factory team will want him in 2016? Or maybe he was planning on switching back to World Superbike in two years anyway.

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  23. mickey says:

    At least his girlfriend looks kinda hot, but I read in an interview with Cal that she rules the roost, wears the pants and he does whatever she says.. Oh yea what a dumb move on his part. Maybe she made the decision or him?

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  24. gper says:

    He acted like a spoiled kid on the Yamaha over not being seated at the Right Hand. I can’t wait to see how badly he treats Ducati when he starts placing 11th on the unrideable beast.

    …And if he can win on it then he will have my respect which he really hasn’t had thus far, however slim those chances are.

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  25. Ryan M says:

    What a disappointment, he really has some talent only to throw it away on the Duc.

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  26. Brian says:

    I’m only disappointed in Stoner sticking with Honda for testing, but not surprised.
    I would have liked to see him back on this machine for a season to see what the real potential of the machine is.
    His performance from 2007 until his switch saw less success each year. Now I’m curious.

    Best of luck to Crutchlow, but I’m not holding my breath…

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  27. raivkka says:

    Doesn’t matter who rides this bike, they will not do well. Hope next years bike does better.

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