Tech 3’s reported approach for Pol Espargaro could pave the way for Cal Crutchlow to get a ride on a factory bike. In Mugello, Valentino Rossi’s personal manager, who is involved in the possible return to MotoGP of Suzuki, hinted at the prospect of a return for the former race winners, whilst refusing to rule out the team offering a factory ride to Crutchlow.
Crutchlow is likely to be looking for a new ride at the end of the season, after his Tech 3 contract expires at the end of the 2013 season, whilst team-mate Bradley Smith and factory riders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi all have contracts until 2014. Instead of renewing the Brit’s contract, Yamaha are looking to promote a rider from Moto2, with Pol Espargaro looking the most likely candidate. Espargaro, brother of current MotoGP rider Aleix, finds himself 5th in the Moto2 championship, 47 points off the lead. After his win in Qatar, Espargaro has had a mixture of results, including a 3rd position, a 4th, a 20th and a DNF. This inconsistency, although expected from a young rider, doesn’t seem to warrant a place on the MotoGP grid.
If Yamaha are looking for a rider to step up to MotoGP, it’s hard for them to look past Scott Redding, Having been tipped for a ride on a Pramac Ducati this year, only to be pipped by Ben Spies, Redding leads the Moto2 championship by 47 points, having already racked up an incredible 101 points from just 5 races, including back to back wins in France and Italy. His weight, a disadvantage on the smaller Moto2 bikes, and his aggressive riding style would be better suited to the premier class, making him well worthy of a gamble from a satellite team.
The best option for the Tech 3 team though, is surely Pol’s brother, Aleix Espargaro. The Spaniard has already proved himself in MotoGP in the Aspar CRT team, finishing as the top CRT last season, in 12th place. This season, he looks a certainty to retain that crown, as he sits 10th in the championship, above prototype riders Bradley Smith and Andrea Iannone.
Whoever gets the Tech 3 ride though, the return of Suzuki would be a welcome one, adding yet more competition for a place on the podium, and sets up a tantalising season to come.