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Cal Crutchlow explains Tech 3 contract timing
16 May 2013
Cal Crutchlow has explained why he only extended his Tech 3 contract by a single year, last season.
Speculation suggests Moto2 star Pol Espargaro is about to sign for Yamaha. And with top satellite rider Crutchlow the only M1 rider without a 2014 contract in place, he would be forced to make way for the Spaniard.
Earlier this week, Crutchlow's Monster Yamaha Tech 3 boss Herve Poncharal commented on the situation
, confirming that Espargaro is certain to have spoken with Yamaha.
Poncharal also stated that it had been Crutchlow's decision to sign only a one-year contract, for 2013, after missing out on the factory Ducati ride to team-mate Andrea Dovizioso.
“Had [Cal] signed for two years, he would not be in this situation now,” Poncharal added.
On Thursday at Le Mans, Crutchlow explained that the timing of Tech 3's own Yamaha contract - which expires at the end of this year - was behind his decision.
“Herve said I had the option to sign a two-year deal with him. But if he hasn't signed a contact with the manufacturer [for 2014] then what do I do?” said Crutchlow. “He can put me in Moto2 for the second year... So I think it was correct that I only signed for one year.”
He added: “There's nothing I know at the minute, we'll concentrate on the job in hand and concentrate race by race until Herve tells me otherwise.”
Poncharal, who says he is discussing at least a two-year contract extension with Yamaha, had also played down the difference between the Tech 3 bikes and factory M1s of Jorge Lorenzo and Valencia Rossi.
“My package is good,” agreed Crutchlow. “But it's not this year's latest package. My package is last year's. It's definitely good. I've said that.”
Fifth, fourth and fifth in the races so far this season, Crutchlow hopes the cooler conditions at Le Mans this weekend will allow the Yamahas to get back on terms with the factory Hondas in Tech 3's home round.
“Jerez was a tough weekend for Yamaha. I think we need to look at the bike and strategy to improve, but I'm pleased with my bike and the team are working great. This is their home round and a big event.
“It's normally cold here and the Yamaha maybe works well in the cold, as we've seen in tests and the morning sessions before.”
The former World Supersport champion also summed up the views of many when asked if a penalty should have been applied to Marc Marquez for the last turn incident with Lorenzo at Jerez.
“We're racing motorcycles, there's 24-25 guys riding around and at some point the main guys are going to hit each other or at least touch,” said Crutchlow.
“Was it over the limit? I don't know... But nobody crashed, nobody was hurt. I think it needs to be forgotten and let's carry on racing.”
2013 is Crutchlow's third season at Tech 3. Tech 3 has used Yamaha machinery ever since joining the premier-class in 2001.
Nicky Hayden's Ducati seat, or Suzuki's planned MotoGP return, are the only factory team rides potentially up for grabs at the end of this year.