Crutchlow to Ducati, Espargaro to Tech 3

August 2, 2013
Bart Madson
By Bart Madson
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Bashing away at the MotoUSA keyboard for nine years now, Madson lends his scribbling and editorial input on everything from bike reviews to industry analysis and motorcycle racing reports.

Ducati officially confirmed the signing of Cal Crutchlow for the 2014-2015 MotoGP campaigns. The British rider replaces American Nicky Hayden on the factory Ducati ride. Crutchlow’s expected replacement is also confirmed today, as Yamaha announces the signing of Moto2 star Pol Espargaro to the Tech 3 team – also for two years.

Crutchlow is currently fifth in the MotoGP points standings, enjoying his best season to date. The Tech 3 rider has netted four podiums on the year, his third season in the premier series. A former World Supersport champion, the 27-year-old Crutchlow faces significant challenges moving to Ducati. The Italian marque has seen several careers sputter in its garage, not the least of which being Valentino Rossi. The British rider will compete alongside Italian teammate Andrea Dovizioso.

Espargaro joins the Tech 3 squad where he will be teamed with Bradley Smith, both riders 22 years of age. Espargaro sits second in the Moto2 standings, having finished runner up to current MotoGP points leader, Marc Marquez, in the 2012 Moto2 championship. The two Spaniards are projected to be long-term rivals in the premier class, with Yamaha inking Espargaro to counter Honda’s Marquez.

As for Hayden, the 2006 world champion is currently without a factory seat in the MotoGP championship. The America rider has campaigned the past five seasons for Ducati, with opportunities in World Superbike rumored.
Moto2 rider Pol Espargaro will move up to the premier class in 2014 with the Tech 3 Yamaha team.