CRUTCHLOW SIGNS HRC DEAL
Top Brit lands two-year factory contract, but will stay with LCR team
Cal Crutchlow will remain in Motogp for the 2018 and 2019 seasons after signing a two-year extension to his contract ahead of this weekend’s eighth round of the 2017 season at Assen.
The contract will be a step up from his current LCR Honda deal that the double race winner has enjoyed for the past three seasons. He is now elevated to factory rider status and will be supported directly by Honda Racing Corporation in Japan as a reward for both his 2016 successes and his continuing work in helping develop the RC213V machine.
Crutchlow has been an integral part of HRC’S development for the past 18 months as both he and the factory Repsol Honda duo of Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa struggled to turn the difficult-to-ride machine back into the competitive race winner of the past.
And with that hard work, days of testing and extensive feedback from the 31-year-old has come just reward – something that he’s been clamouring for since taking a stunning dry win at the Australian Grand Prix last October.
Speaking exclusively to MCN ahead of the news being announced, Crutchlow said: “I think the factory deal has come about because out of the three years that I’ve had with Honda. I’ve been the only one able to get results for them apart from Marc and Dani. That, along with my experience of riding for two other manufacturers has helped. Marc, Dani, Jack and Tito have only ever ridden Hondas, and I think that my experience there and how to im-
prove the bike is important to them.
“But results also speak, and I’ve had some great results over the years. Don’t get me wrong – I could have had more, and there’s some I missed, but you’ve got to get results. I’ve been fortunate to be rewarded for those results now.”
The deal should also see further support coming his way as he continues in his role as a key part of the Japanese manufacturer’s development work on the bike. Already in a position where he’s now receiving components before or alongside the factory riders, he’s hoping that their integration into HRC’S masterplan means they can only get stronger as a whole in the future.
“We do so much testing and this year we’ve already done loads. And at the tests, I normally always test new items or evaluate things a bit quicker than the others, because of my experience. That’s good for me, it’s good for my team, and it shows how much support HRC give to the satellite teams.”
And while the deal will likely see him remain with the LCR squad for 2017, the nature of his new contract also opens up the possibility of even bigger and better things in the future, if one of Honda’s factory riders chooses to leave the squad when their contracts expire at the end of the 2018 season.
Already linked with a move to the Repsol Honda squad for this year if Dani Pedrosa had accepted a position provisionally offered to him at the Movistar Yamaha squad, Crutchlow says that it isn’t beyond the realms of possibility that he could end up on the orange machines in the future.
“I’m fully focused on riding for LCR and doing my job for the rest of this year and for next year. I do have a deal that is an HRC agreement though, and I’m sure that if I was performing well at the time and something strange happened maybe I would slot in there. But it’s not why I signed the contract.
“I haven’t signed it to go to the factory team – I signed it because I’m happy where I am and because I’m getting results. I did well last year and there’s no reason why I can’t again this year.”
‘I’ve had some great results and I’ve been rewarded for those now’ CAL CRUTCHLOW