Racing roundup: Vinales out, Crutchlow in, Suzuka canceled

Cal Crutchlow back in his Tech3 days. Now. he's finally got that promotion to the top Yamaha team, when he is past his prime. Photo: MotoGP

Late summer, and there’s lots going on as we head into the final stretch of the international roadracing scene …


So, Maverick Vinales is out of Yamaha’s factory team, done, gone-baby-gone. After initially suspending him for a race due to an alleged attempt to destroy his racebike’s engine, Yamaha has now ended its contract with the Spanish rider.

It seems no tears were shed on either side. Vinales’ contract was up at end-of-season anyway, so he probably collects some severance pay and is able to sulk in his villa, or perhaps get ready for his next gig with Aprilia’s factory team. Vinales moves to Aprilia for 2022, and no doubt will bring high expectations with him … but judging from past history, his performance might not match those expectations.

As for Yamaha, they’ve announced Cal Crutchlow, who retired at end of 2020, will fill the factory seat for the rest of the season. It’s got to be bittersweet for Crutchlow, who put in yeoman service for Yamaha’s Tech3 satellite team 2011-2013, and felt he deserved a shot at the factory squad after that. Yamaha thought otherwise back then, and after a wasted year with Ducati’s factory team, Crutchlow went back to the satellite team wastelands, passed over again when he was with LCR Honda, when the factory team decided it wanted Alex Marquez instead.

Now Crutchlow basically says he’s too slow to be competitive upon his return from retirement, and he’s riding the bike he should have had back in the mid-2010s, when he was much faster.

Yamaha’s fans are all whining about how much they want Valentino Rossi to have that seat instead, letting The Doctor end his career on the team he saw great success with. Nope! He’s on contract with SRT, and that’s where he shall end his days.

Endurance World Championship

To nobody’s surprise, the Suzuka 8-Hour has been canceled. It was originally planned to run November 7 this year. The FIM’s press release says it’s “because of the health crisis, which has worsened in Japan over the past few weeks.” This is the second year in a row that Suzuka has been canceled. The plan is to run it again next July.

With the 8 Hours of Oschersleben also canceled, EWC management has instead put together a new race for Europe. The press release says “The 8 Hours of Most – the final of the 2021 FIM EWC and the FIM Endurance World Cup – will take place in the Czech Republic on Saturday 9 October as part of a car and motorcycle double-header with a WTCR race.

This would be the final race of EWC’s 2021 season, with the Bol d’Or running September 18-19 … as long as that race isn’t canceled too!

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