Crutchlow Gets First Taste of Yamaha M1 MotoGP Bike in Japan

British rider’s test at Yamaha test track hampered by mixed weather

After finishing his first—and currently only—World Superbike season on a high with victory in Race One and a second-place finish in Race Two at the Magny-Cours, France WSBK season finale (the British rider ended up fifth the final standings and took the “Rookie of the Year” title), Cal Crutchlow took the next step in his career as he flew to Japan in order to conduct a one-and-a-half day test on the same type Yamaha YZR-M1 MotoGP bike that he’ll be campaigning next year with the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 squad.

Weather around this time in Japan is often very sketchy, and so it wasn’t that much of a surprise that the conditions for Crutchlow’s test at Yamaha’s Fukuroi test track were a mixed bag of wet and damp pavement. But the former World Supersport champion didn’t let that stop him, as he quickly got down to business and ran a good number of laps on both full wet and slick Bridgestone tires. Crutchlow’s speed on the wet and unfamiliar test track reportedly impressed the Yamaha staff, and he also made sure to take some time to familiarize himself with the M1’s launch control by practicing some starts.

“The M1 felt a lot smaller than my Yamaha R1 superbike,” said Crutchlow after his test, ironically adding that, “I actually found the positioning more comfortable than the WSB machine.” Of the differences between the M1 and his former R1 superbike, he said, “There’s a lot of power but it feels very useable, it felt very different to a production based machine in terms of its delivery. In the wet we used the normal steel brakes but when it started to dry I had a chance to try the carbon ones which were cool, I managed to get quite comfortable with them. I found the chassis very stiff, it was really easy to change direction and the electronics were really different, even more advanced than the high level I’m used to in Superbike! It was a shame the weather wasn’t great so I wasn’t able to push to the bike’s full potential, I’m really looking forward to the Valencia test so I can get back on it and give it a proper work out!”

While in Japan Crutchlow also took time out to visit The Yamaha Motor Company headquarters and the Communication Plaza in Shizuoka where he had an opportunity to get up close to some of Yamaha’s historic and iconic machinery from past and present.

Crutchlow will get his first real test of the M1 at the post-Valencia official test on November 9 and 10. He reportedly was given the opportunity to substitute for Colin Edwards on the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha M1 (who would in turn replace the then-injured Valentino Rossi on the Fiat Yamaha factory team), but Crutchlow turned down the offer, choosing instead to focus on his World Superbike ride, citing the fact that familiarization time with both the M1 and the Bridgestone control tires (the World Superbike championship uses Pirelli control tires) would have been short and hurried.