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MotoGP Japanese GP

Crutchlow “not massively happy with development process” at Yamaha in MotoGP

Yamaha test rider Cal Crutchlow says he is “not massively happy with the development process” at the Japanese marque ahead of his Japanese Grand Prix wildcard.

Cal Crutchlow, Yamaha Factory Racing

The three-time MotoGP race winner has been Yamaha’s lead test rider since retiring from full-time competition at the end of the 2020 season.

The Japanese marque currently only has three podiums in a difficult 2023 season, while a recent test at Misano failed to produce much in the way of positive feedback from Fabio Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli.

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Crutchlow will compete in his first MotoGP round this weekend in Japan since Valencia last year when he deputised for the retired Andrea Dovizioso, and told the media on Thursday his Motegi outing was necessary because “we don’t test enough”.

“After seven months of not racing, it’s difficult to jump back in,” he began.

“I was happy testing, but when they said ‘do you want to do a wildcard’, we needed to because we don’t test enough.

“We need extra time on the track and this was an opportunity to do that, and obviously Motegi makes sense for Yamaha to have the bikes here.

“I think it makes sense to test a bit more: whether we have anything new to test is always a big story. We’ll see what we can do.”

On testing right now, he added: “It’s difficult when you are alone, I was alone on track [at Motegi test] as I have been at most tests this year.

“So, to have some reference is always difficult. But I went ok, I was happy with the way I was going. But obviously I’m not massively happy with the development process at the moment.”

He believes the engine which Quartararo said he “expected much more” from at Misano is the right direction to go in, but concedes it didn’t make the step it needed.

And asked where he felt Yamaha needs to improve, he continued: “Fucking a lot, because at the moment we don’t develop in the way we should.

Cal Crutchlow, YAMALUBE RS4GP Racing Team

Cal Crutchlow, YAMALUBE RS4GP Racing Team

Photo by: Yamaha Motor Racing

“But I think, and I’m hopeful, that this will change. As you know, I’ve been testing a new engine.

“I believe the direction of this engine is the correct way, but it’s not the step we are looking for.

“But in this direction I believe is a better way to be able to work. The problem for me is the emphasis has been too much on the aero.

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“I’ve done three tests this year that focused on aero, and we need to improve other areas before we improve the aero because the aero, to me, I believe I can go round this track with the normal fairing with no aero faster than with aero.

He added: “The test team is working very well, we work in a good way, they listen. But the problem is action. We need to have action, they need to understand what to bring.

“I believe they do, but doing it is another story in the moment. I believe they will because there has to come a point where we move forward in a better way.

“There is three key areas where we need to work, and that’s engine and electronics are the main two things, and the aero is the last thing.

“This bike works when the wings are small, not trying to follow in the direction of the other manufacturers.

“This bike is different to the other manufacturers’ and we need to take a step back in that area.

“We need to build a faster engine, but for sure we need to build a smooth engine, because even this year’s engine I said I didn’t believe we should use.

“Fabio and Franco chose this engine and now we have problems, because it’s really aggressive and we don’t generate grip.”

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