In­side story of first GP win Why Mar­quez is ‘a freak’ + Cavendish on Cal

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Front Page - By Si­mon Pat­ter­son MO­TOGP RE­PORTER

He may have won the Brno Mo­togp race and ended the UK’S 35-year wait for a pre­miere class win, but it was back with a bump for Cal Crutchlow when he re­turned home af­ter his his­toric win.

While you’d ex­pect the par­ty­ing to have only just stopped and the phone ring­ing off the hook for in­ter­views, that’s not what MCN found when we vis­ited him at his Isle of Man home.

There were no signs of cel­e­bra­tion when we ar­rived, in­stead we found Cal thor­oughly en­gaged in the act of chang­ing baby Wil­low Crutchlow’s nappy, al­ready back and fully into the swing of do­mes­tic life at home with wife Lucy, his daugh­ter and semi-adopted son and fel­low Mo­togp rider Jack Miller!

“It’s strange – apart from an­swer­ing a load of mes­sages and stuff like that, I haven’t re­ally thought about it since get­ting home! It does feel dif­fer­ent, and I’ve waited a long time to be able to win a race, but it’s nice that when I get home noth­ing changes. Lucy and I are just the same, the house is just the same with an added tro­phy, and it’s been straight back into the rou­tine of hav­ing a three­week old baby. She doesn’t even re­alise that I’ve just won a race af­ter 35 years!”

How­ever, while it might have been a hugely sig­nif­i­cant re­sult both for Crutchlow and for the UK, com­ing nearly four decades since Barry Sheene last achieved the feat, the Coven­try na­tive ad­mit­ted that the his­tor­i­cal im­pact of the win was less im­por­tant than the per­sonal sat­is­fac­tion that he was able to take from it.

“I never look at sta­tis­tics – if I did I’d be de­mor­alised! But I’ve thought about it a lot – about be­ing the first Bri­tish win­ner. I wanted to be that guy, be­cause I’ve been the guy that did the most in Mo­togp in this era, apart from Niall Macken­zie or Jeremy Mcwil­liams maybe. With the podi­ums I’ve had, sure they haven’t been the same amount as Valentino Rossi or Marc Mar­quez, but I’ve had more satel­lite podi­ums than most peo­ple in the mod­ern era, and it’s nice to fi­nally be one of the win­ners too. Jack did it in great cir­cum­stances in Assen, so ob­vi­ously I had to pull my fin­ger out too!

“I’ve only looked at one statis­tic that was pointed out to me this week, that I’m the only rider to win in Bri­tish Su­pers­port, Bri­tish Su­per­bike, World Su­pers­port, World Su­per­bike and now Mo­togp. That in my eyes is a great achieve­ment, and that’s pretty great. Even if some­one else does it now, I’ll still be the first to have done it! It’s nice to be able to put that one in the mem­ory bank – but re­ally, does it change any­thing? No. But I still feel great that I’ve man­aged to achieve it.

“I’ve worked hard for it. I’m never a guy to blow smoke up my own arse, and I’m al­ways the first one who when I make mis­takes, I apol­o­gise to the peo­ple around me. I don’t want it to sound wrong when I say it, but I think I de­serve it be­cause I’ve worked so hard for it. Along with other peo­ple of course, my wife, Lucy has been in this since I was in BSB and all the way to now, and she’s seen all the highs and all the lows.

“There have been some lows too. I was the guy who moved from World Su­per­bikes to Mo­togp. In the first year, I was fast, but I had no clue what I was

do­ing. Even now, I have no idea half the time. I have to think to my­self ‘what am I even do­ing here with the best guys in the world?’ But it’s sheer de­ter­mi­na­tion that makes me com­pet­i­tive. I can un­der­stand the bike I’m rid­ing very well, but that doesn’t mean I can ride it fast – I have to force my­self to do that, un­like the other guys.

“I’m not the most nat­u­rally tal­ented, but I don’t say that to big my­self up – I say that be­cause it’s the com­plete and ab­so­lute truth. I’m a lot more nat­u­rally tal­ented foot­ball player than mo­tor­bike racer – be­cause when I was grow­ing up I rode my bi­cy­cle around the streets all day and played foot­ball all night. I was a lot more nat­u­ral at that un­til I started to ride a bike at thir­teen.”

And to make the win even more de­serv­ing for the Brit is the fact that it comes on the Honda, a ma­chine ac­knowl­edged as one of the most dif­fi­cult-to-ride bikes that the Ja­panese firm have pro­duced in re­cent years.

Slow on top speed, cor­ner exit and ac­cel­er­a­tion, the re­sult is that the rid­ers are hav­ing to of­ten ex­ceed the lim­its un­der brak­ing to close the gap – some­thing that Crutchlow ad­mits might work for Mar­quez but doesn’t al­ways work for him.

“I thought it was go­ing to be eas­ier than it has been, but I should have known from watch­ing how hard it was go­ing to be this year. Ev­ery­one wants to be around a fac­tory Honda, be­cause of how it’s as­sem­bled, how it looks – it’s a Honda. But rid­ing it isn’t easy this year.

“But it’s dif­fi­cult to say any­thing neg­a­tive about the bike or the pack­age if you crash, make a mis­take, have a bad race – be­cause Marc (Mar­quez) is lead­ing the cham­pi­onship by 50 points! But you have to see the re­al­ity - Marc is a freak of na­ture. There are only two rid­ers I’ve ever seen like that, to have speed, tal­ent, con­sis­tency and to be able to ride some­thing that shouldn’t be able to do what they make it do, and that’s him and Casey.”

And while some have said in the af­ter­math of Crutchlow’s win that only a lucky guess on tyre choice over­rode the dif­fi­culty of the bike and the skill of his op­po­nents to hand him the win, he’s quick to shoot back at his crit­ics, say­ing not only was it not a fluke but that he be­lieves he can do it again.

“There is al­ways that guy say­ing ‘you wouldn’t have won if this per­son had been faster on the day, or this per­son did this on the day.’ That’s the way it is, and I feel great for what we’ve man­aged to achieve on the day.

“We’ve seen that it’s pos­si­ble to win races though, and my next goal now is to win an­other. Do I think that it’s achiev­able? Yes, given that I’ve al­ready nearly won two be­fore. It just has to be un­der the right cir­cum­stances. If you’re only on a satel­lite ma­chine, you have to be on re­ally good form. You ba­si­cally have to be hav­ing the best day of your life.”

Crutchlow’s win means that he heads into the Bri­tish Grand Prix hav­ing won the pre­vi­ous race, some­thing no other Bri­tish rider has done since Mike Hail­wood went to the Isle of Man TT as the win­ner of the Ul­ster Grand Prix 50 years ago in 1966.

“I thought I would get to Sil­ver­stone as a win­ner, but I thought the chance was a few years ago and not now – but to do it the week­end be­fore builds the hype and builds the an­tic­i­pa­tion! The prob­lem is that the fans ex­pect you to do it again that week­end, and it’s not as sim­ple as that! Of course I’ll try my hard­est like I do for ev­ery sin­gle Sil­ver­stone, but it’s not that easy.”

“The funny thing is, I’ve never had to prove my­self for a job or to the fans, and I need to prove my­self even less now I’m in that se­lect group of Mo­togp win­ners. I don’t feel any pres­sure to go to Sil­ver­stone to do it again; I’ve waited six years to do it and the chance of it hap­pen­ing straight away is quite un­likely. That doesn’t mean I don’t get up in the morn­ing and think that I can’t do it again though! It won’t be easy but I’ll give it my best.”

But while that ex­cep­tional per­for­mance that he says a rider needs to de­liver on race day may only come around once in a hand­ful of races, there is one piece of good news go­ing into the Bri­tish GP, as Cal ad­mits that he’s had that same feel­ing at Sil­ver­stone be­fore – right up un­til Jack Miller knocked him out of fourth po­si­tion last year.

“If there was one race that I thought I could have won be­fore now though, it was Sil­ver­stone last year. I had one of those mo­ments where I felt like I was float­ing; one of those per­fect days. It feels like you’re look­ing at your­self from above; if you ask any top sports per­son af­ter a per­fect re­sult, they’re pic­tur­ing them­selves out of them­selves.

“I had one of them at Brno, but I had it at Sil­ver­stone last year too. I felt great, and then Jack was on top of me! I was up­set af­ter­wards, but that’s how it was. I can’t change the re­sult af­ter­wards and Jack didn’t mean to knock me off. I felt like last year was go­ing to be a very good re­sult, but we’ll try again this year, and go­ing in as a race win­ner is some­thing very spe­cial.”

‘If there was one race that I thought I could have won be­fore, it was Sil­ver­stone’ CAL CRUTCHLOW ‘Of course I’ll try my hard­est like I do for ev­ery sin­gle Sil­ver­stone, but it’s not that easy’

He’s made his­tory as the first Brit to win a pre­mier class GP since Sheene. Now it’s back to chang­ing nap­pies for Cal

Crutchlow at home on the IOM with MCN Mo­togp re­porter Si­mon Pat­ter­son What else would an off-duty Mo­togp hero do to re­lax? Crutchlow has the de­ter­mi­na­tion to be back on the top step Cal celebrates the magic mo­ment he won the Czech GP at Brno Wife Lucy has

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