MotoGP Aragon: ‘You can’t replace a rider like Dovi’ - Crutchlow

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Picture: GeeBee Images

Cal Crutchlow will be back on a MotoGP bike with the WithU RNF Yamaha team on Friday as preparation for the Aragon GP begins.

With Andrea Dovizioso retiring in front of his home fans at Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli last time out, Yamaha test rider Crutchlow got the call up for the final six races, and with two tests thrown in to the mix for the coming eight weeks, it will be a busy period for the 36-year-old retiree.

“I’ve been officially retired twice and then at the end of the year it will be a third time again!” Crutchlow confirmed from the Motorland Aragon paddock on Thursday ahead of his return to competitive action. “It’s a strange situation. Coming in to replace Dovi is something very strange because I always feel you can’t replace a rider like Dovi.

“Dovi was my friend at the racetrack,” he continued. “I always thought he was a great rider but an even better person. How he handled things over his career was very special and he’s the last of the ‘old age’, I think, to stop, of the real characters of MotoGP. So I’m sad for him.

“I’m angry at him because it means I had to come back for the six races,” he joked, “but no, I look forward to it. I look forward to being with the WithU RNF Yamaha team for the rest of the year.

“I have a very busy schedule with six races and then I have two tests in eight weeks as well. So it’s going to be a difficult period, as in the amount of riding being done, especially when you are only a test rider.

“The championship is so strong at the moment. I’ve been really enjoying to watch it at home on the sofa but now I’m back in. I’m looking forward to it, it’s gonna be good fun. I will give my 100 per cent as always and we will try and get some good information for Yamaha and go from there.

“I wish I could tell you I was having the new ‘23 bike but I can’t because I have to use Dovi’s bike,” he said of the potential to combine his two jobs for the remainder of the season. “Our testing programme has gone very well this year. We’ve been very pleased, Yamaha have done a great job with regard to next year’s bike. We’ve been pleased with the way it’s going so I have to congratulate Yamaha on doing a good job, as they always have done a good job. They’ve been in MotoGP many years and always at the front.

“We enjoyed to test but unfortunately we can’t test too many things in these six races for next year. We could maybe sneak some parts in that nobody knows but we’ll see!”