Cal Crutchlow has vowed to stay 'humble' and learn during his maiden campaign of MotoGP competition with the satellite Tech 3 Yamaha operation in 2011 – and with the right people around him and the right attitude, he hopes he will 'go far'.
Crutchlow will join the premier class grid next year off the back of a sole season in the World Superbike Championship that went increasingly from strength-to-strength – and over the course of which, his raw speed was never remotely in doubt. Remaining with Yamaha as he now prepares to take the final step up to the pinnacle of the sport, the 25-year-old is confident he is in the right place to be able to make his mark.
“I knew (team boss) Herve [Poncharal] anyway from before, and I've got Daniele Romagnoli as my crew chief next year,” he told Crash.net Radio, revealing that he has settled into his new surroundings well thus far. “It seems to be working out quite well at the moment with him. He was Jorge Lorenzo's team manager last year, he went to the Moto2 team with Herve this year and now he's come back to work with us. He has a lot of experience, and Yamaha put their trust in him and said he was the guy to do the job.
“I've got to use those guys as much as I can next year, because it's going to be a difficult year and I need a good group of people around me. James [Toseland] went to Tech 3 and did well straightaway, and Ben [Spies] has obviously done well there all year, which is what I intend to do too – and for the whole two years of my contract. My job next year is to go in there, learn, be humble, have the same attitude as Ben and I'll go far, hopefully.”
Stepping into the place of Spies, indeed, is a daunting prospect, with the rider regarded as a special talent by practically the entire MotoGP paddock having impressed sufficiently in 2010 as to be rewarded with a plum FIAT Yamaha deal in 2011, in-place of new Ducati signing Valentino Rossi.
If Spies has some big boots to fill in the legendary Italian's stead, then Crutchlow similarly will be under pressure to live up to his predecessor's extraordinary rookie exploits – but he recognises that the presence of ultra-experienced team-mate Colin Edwards alongside him will be both a help and a yardstick as he strives to find his feet.
“Colin's a good guy, he's relaxed, he knows the bike inside-out – he's ridden for Yamaha for six years now – and they still put their faith in him being one of their guys to help development,” he mused. “Now Valentino has gone, it's going to be a little bit more difficult for development maybe, because he was good at that, but they've kept Colin on-board.
“I'm sure he'll help me as much as he can, but at the end of the day, you're racing against each other and you want to beat everyone on the track, let alone your team-mate. I'm sure he'll want to beat me as much as I want to beat him. We've both got a job to do, but we get on well, which is a good start, I think.”
Indeed, ultimately, Crutchlow's goal is to beat every single other rider on the grid, but that, he is well aware, will take time – and in a field as fiercely-competitive and of such a high calibre as is MotoGP, he acknowledges that before trying to run, first he must learn to walk.
“I'm under no illusions about how fast and how hard the guys ride out there, and I'm telling you now that the guys that you think just ride around at the back in MotoGP can win World Superbike races without a doubt, because they are fast,” he stressed. “It's just going to be down to time on the bike. I'll use the first half of the year to learn, and the second half I'll be pushing a lot more. That's what happened in Superbikes this year, and I'm sure that's what will happen in GP next year.”