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Tech 3 signs Crutchlow for 2011

Cal CrutchlowCal Crutchlow will move from World Superbikes to MotoGP next year to fill Ben Spies' seat in the Tech 3 Yamaha team.

The 24-year-old Briton is currently fifth in the Superbike standings in his first full season, having moved up after winning last year's World Supersport title - also as a factory Yamaha rider.

"It is hard for me to explain how excited I am about the prospect of riding in MotoGP next season with the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team," said Crutchlow, who will be the first British rider in MotoGP since James Toseland returned to Superbikes at the end of 2009.

"Joining MotoGP is like a dream come true for me, and I want to thank Yamaha and [Tech 3 boss] Herve Poncharal for giving me such a wonderful opportunity.

"Yamaha have been fantastic to me and without their incredible support I wouldn't be where I am today. And I'm really looking forward to working with the Tech 3 team. They are a very professional team with a lot of experience and I'm sure they will be able to help me develop even more as a rider."

Poncharal is confident Crutchlow is ready to move straight into MotoGP. He has been signed on a two-year deal initially.

"He has shown with his World Supersport success in 2009 and with a series of outstanding performances in World Superbikes this year what an exciting prospect he is for the future," said the Tech 3 chief.

"I think he is ready to test himself against the very best in the world and I'm really looking forward to working with him. He is a very talented rider and he has an unbelievable desire to succeed."

Crutchlow promised not to underestimate MotoGP.

"I am under no illusions about how difficult this challenge will be," he said. "But I have always loved a challenge and I'm relishing this one.

"To think I will be racing against the likes of Valentino Rossi, who I grew up being a massive fan of, is a really exciting prospect and I can't wait for 2011."

This will be the second year in a row that Crutchlow has followed in Spies' footsteps, as he took the American's Yamaha WSB seat when Spies moved to MotoGP with Tech 3.

Spies is currently sixth in the championship in his rookie MotoGP campaign, with two podium finishes and a pole to his name, and has earned promotion to the factory Yamaha line-up for 2010. Poncharal hopes Crutchlow can be similarly impressive.

"Ben has proven this year that with talent, hard work and determination you can make a successful switch from World Superbikes to MotoGP," said Poncharal.

"I have no doubt that Cal has the potential to emulate Ben's success in the future. I am sure the combination of Cal, Yamaha and Tech 3 will be a strong one and I can't wait to start this exciting new adventure in our history."

Colin Edwards is expected to stay on in Tech 3's other seat for a fourth year, though his deal has not yet been confirmed.

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