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Cal Crutchlow Deserves a Factory Ride Next Year, But He Won’t Get One

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As we reported, Cal Crutchlow won his second MotoGP race last weekend at Phillip Island … this time on a dry track. Crutchlow was in his own time zone, as even a hard-charging Valentino Rossi had to admit after the race. In sum, Crutchlow destroyed one of the most talented MotoGP fields ever.

In our opinion, Crutchlow deserves a factory ride next year, but there are none available at this point. He will continue at the satellite LCR Honda team, and hope for greater support and, perhaps, a bike nearly the equal of those ridden by Repsol Honda teammates Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa.

Crutchlow is an interesting case study. At 30 years old, he is no youngster, and he has no GP titles on his resume. A World Supersport crown in 2009 is the highlight, and he has never finished higher than fifth in the final MotoGP standings (2013 aboard a Yamaha). In a sense, he is too old to just now develop the skills necessary to ride with the “aliens” of MotoGP, but it appears he is doing just that.

It will be interesting to see how the Isle of Man resident does next year. With a competitive bike, we wouldn’t be surprised to see him battling near the front every weekend.


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19 Comments

  1. DaveA says:

    Maybe one of the factories will run a second team and get Crutchlow and Sam Lowes to be the riders. They’ll get podiums here and there, lots of exciting riding, and 25 seasons worth of crash test data.

  2. GnG says:

    Destroyed the competition? Rossi started in 15th, MM crashed out, Lorenzo indifferent, Pedrosa and Iannone injured, Stoner retired blah blah blah.

    Some riders perform better when they are not under the factiry ride pressure. And i do not think his Honda is slow.

    Ok i just dont like him.

  3. Vrooom says:

    Crutchlow’s got two problems. First the first half of the season was completely unimpressive while the second half was champion caliber. Unfortunately factory bikes were assigned after the first half of the season. Secondly his attitude is terrible, factories depend on people admiring their riders and therefor their equipment. Crutchlow, while talented, tends to blame others for his problems. That doesn’t sell bikes. I am not a Marquez fan, but when he crashed this weekend he blamed it on #1, himself.

  4. Ricardo says:

    He can have Dani Pedrosa’s bike, he is boring and not winning races…

    • orbit398 says:

      Excellent idea, although Dani won a race as well. Hopefully he’ll get the few upgrades and have that tiny edge as well. He is doing one heck of a job with the moto he has. Good to see new faces as the top.

  5. Gutterslob says:

    He doesn’t necessarily need to be a Repsol Honda rider to get a factory bike though. I remember the Movistar Hondas of Gibernau and Kato (R.I.P, Dai-chan ) being “90% factory” before Daijiro’s accident, and then full factory for Sete after Rossi secured the title that year, and then we had full factory Repsol Honda dueling full factory Movistar Honda the following year.

    Problem is, Cal isn’t Spanish and, more importantly, LCR doesn’t have a giant telco backing them, so probably not happening unless some gigantic company in Brexitville suddenly gets interested in supporting a scruffy bloke from Coventry in MotoGP. Not impossible, but definitely a long shot.

  6. Jeremy in TX says:

    I really do think he has always had the skill. He did well on the satellite Yamaha. The terrible Ducati season doesn’t count. He crashed a good bit his first year on the satellite Honda in 2015, though so did other notable Honda riders. He also put in some good performances as well though.

    He is always quick to say that Honda treats him very well and gives him immediate access to new parts for testing, etc. Patience may earn him Pedrosa’s bike in a couple of years. Or perhaps the growing ambitions of KTM and Aprilia may have one or both of those companies giving some thought to him when contracts run out if Crutch keeps on performing.

    • I agree he has always been hard-working and skilled. The “two seasons” he seems to have had this year must have some really good explanation, though, right? What happened? New equipment? A setup breakthrough? I have yet to hear concrete information but I’d bet a nickel there’s a story there.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “the growing ambitions of KTM”

      (PUNCH OUT MAVERICK… ERR… CRUTCHLOW…!!!)

      speaking of Katoom, i’ve recently discovered the RC16 is a full 90 degrees. so this would NOT be the “ready built” V4 as once raced unsuccessfully by Team Roberts for 10 rounds back in ’05 (forgot about that engine didn’t ya?). yeah well that original 990 mill was a narrow angle 72-75 degree design.

      Q: ok, so what does it all mean Normeous…?

      A: it means (unlike the old V of Suzuki and the new V of Aprilia) any team of engineers who not only make a conscious decision to sort a full trellis for their chassis…? but also invest copious Euro to remake their entire engine program just to open up their V to 90…? aren’t there to make up the numbers. no, they are signalling their intent to OPEN A CAN OF WHOOP ASS on Ducati and Honda…!!!

      whereas before he wasn’t too fussed, Norm will now sit and watch their Valencia debut and subsequent tests with “bells on”. (who…? Mark Belzon, he’s an old drinking buddy)

  7. The Spaceman says:

    I think Rossi has shown conclusively that age isn’t a barrier to success in m/c racing. I remember people saying Duhamel was too old to compete, right before he won the Daytona 200 in 1999 (with a badly broken leg).

    • Dave says:

      Guys like Rossi and Duhamel are exceptions to the rule. Generally, after 30, most of these guys are racing their birth certificates and if they’ve done well financially, they don’t hang around for ever diminishing paychecks and competitive prospects, even if they’re still fast.

  8. Neil says:

    He left Nicky in the dust among others, with Nicky RIDING the factory bike. I thought it was really telling that Nicky rode with a pack of lesser riders. We know the bike could do more. Sure he has not ridden THAT bike, but the Repsol should have left those guys in the dust. Nicky often rides where he starts. Look at Rossi. Pass pass pass pass. Vinales. Pass pass pass pass. Cal just said, hey mates, I’m winning this thing thank you very much, and on the same tire as Marc to boot.

    • Dave says:

      Showing up cold to ride an unfamiliar bike (no matter how good) against seasoned, focused rivals who have a whole season on their equipment almost never turns out well. That he Q’d 7th and ran there is a major achievement.

      Also worth noting, the Repsol Honda has not been the all conquering bike of years past. At it’s best, it was less than a second per lap faster, which is a margin easily erased by a rider not familiar with it.

    • Brian says:

      Agree with Dave: That’s not an even remotely fair comparison. And besides, it isn’t like Cal’s had a spotless record on the Honda. I just looked at his stats: He’s DNF’d in 9 of the 34 races he’s run on that bike (26%). And his average finish in the races he *hasn’t* crashed out of has been 7th…which is where Nicky qualified and was running at PI.

      • Craig says:

        Good stats… it shows that running 7th with the top 20 in the world currently is a place I’d love to be… Remember, Honda has some serious $$ in Jack and he could on his own track just hang with Redding and the like, so the Honda is not a free ticket to the top… none of these bikes are.

        I am betting that Nicky was doing better than HRC thought he would… and bottom line… He beat his team mate. 🙂