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Crutchlow tips Ducati for MotoGP podium surprise

Cal Crutchlow has his sights set on returning Ducati to the MotoGP podium this season.
Cal Crutchlow has his sights set on returning Ducati to the MotoGP podium this season.

Ducati failed to claim a rostrum last year, for the first time since joining MotoGP in 2003. But while team-mate Andrea Dovizioso was non-committal in terms of Ducati's 2014 chances, new signing Crutchlow - who collected four podiums with Tech 3 last season - declared:

“Yes, we can make the podium, we have been there before... I think you will be surprised and I think we will also be surprised. We did three tests at two different circuits and already the difference in lap time for Andrea last year at Sepang in race trim, compared to what he did this time, is a big, big difference.

“The reality is it is difficult to challenge the riders in the top four, or even the top five or six, but you never say never and I think our bike will go well at certain circuits. I feel we are better than what we look at the moment, but we need to improve the bike to be competitive every week, not just at one or two races because we take an advantage.

“My goal is to bring Ducati back to the front and to be there week in, week out, not just to be competitive at one or two races. I think we are heading in the right direction.”

The big news this winter has been Ducati's change from the Factory to Open class.

“I don't think it changes our attitude or philosophy of how we need to progress with the bike,” commented Crutchlow of the Open move, which allows greater development, fuel and engine changes in returning for using the standard ECU software.

“The move to the Open category is a chance for us and Gigi [Dall'Igna] to develop, not take an advantage for four more litres of fuel. We can look at all areas to progress, not just that area. Other riders have what they have and their manufacturers took that decision.”

Crutchlow was speaking at the Audi Forum in Munich - prior to this evening's unveiling of the 2014 team livery, when he will wear full factory colours for the first time.

“We are starting a new chapter for my fourth season in MotoGP, my first as a Ducati factory rider,” he said. “I'm looking forward to getting on the bike and getting into the first race, so everybody is working fantastically hard.

“We have progressed a lot since I got on the bike in November at Valencia, from Gigi to Paolo [Ciabatta] and all the guys on my side of the garage, we are working at 100 per cent to get the results that Ducati want, need and deserve.

“The crucial thing was Gigi coming in and changing some things around, understanding our comments and what we wanted from the package. We brought the GP14 to the Malaysia test and I immediately started feeling better and more comfortable on it.

“We went to Australia and the bike seemed good there. I was pleased and positive. We were able to brake a lot harder than we had been able to on the previous bikes, so step by step… One tenth here, one tenth there makes a better lap time.

“You can't just take one chunk, development is the crucial key, so mine and Andrea's information will be crucial in improving the GP14.”

Tagged as: Ducati , Cal Crutchlow

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March 10, 2014 6:27 PM

Lance Yes sir. In fact all 4 Ducati's and both Forward bikes will be downgraded after any hint of competitiveness. But the series isn't rigged.....right? At least life is wonderful for Marquez fans.


March 10, 2014 10:56 PM

benignlyindifferent: Any podium by a factory team that will not run in the factory category is a hollow victory to me. I would have more respect for a tenth place finish on an even playing field than a podium run with rules intended for the privateers.
And what about all the factory teams and riders through the years who have had hardly anyone on kit good enough to get near them.... arent those hollow victories? When have you seen a level playing field yet in MotoGP? Your post supports advantages for some even while you are complaining about what you see is an unfair advantage for Ducati. Being somewhat selective about what you see as biased yourself dont you think?

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