Cal Crutchlow has demonstrated his true potential in MotoGP this year, but the British star was swaying towards a return to World Superbikes after a 'tough' rookie season in 2011.
The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider was taken aback by the 'massive jump' from Superbikes to MotoGP, but his perseverance finally paid off in the end and Crutchlow is enjoying a new lease of life at the pinnacle of motorcycle sport.
The 26-year-old, currently recovering from injury following a crash in practice for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, said: “It was a massive jump from superbikes to MotoGP and in all honesty I struggled with it.
“It was a jump I didn't think I was going to struggle with and I had a conversation with James Toseland, who was my team-mate at the time.
“He'd been to MotoGP and he'd been in the same team and on the Yamaha and said it was really tough, and obviously I was saying yeah, yeah, yeah and never took his advice that much,” Crutchlow said during a live webchat on the Bennetts Bike Insurance Facebook page.
“But I can completely sympathise with what he was saying because last year was a really tough year. I ended up having six operations in six months from racing.
“If it hadn't been for the support of Lucy and people who got me through last year… It was a real tough time and I just wanted to go back to what I knew, which was superbikes,” Crutchlow added.
“In the end, I started to learn the MotoGP bike a lot more. I changed my riding style and enjoy riding it.”
The former World Supersport champion said that while it appeared as though he wasn't making much progress last season, rather it was the ever-increasing gap between the factory machines and satellite teams that masked the 'big strides' he was achieving on a weekly basis.
“The gaps between the factory bikes and our bikes got a lot bigger, so it looked like we weren't actually improving, but we were. Week on week we were making big strides,” he said.