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MotoGP: Crutchlow talks 2014 ahead of Ducati exit

Cal Crutchlow talks to about his single, turbulent season as a Ducati rider as he prepares to leave for LCR Honda in 2015
CLICK HERE to read's full exclusive interview with Cal Crutchlow

Cal Crutchlow says he can take plenty of positives from his brief single-year tenure as a Ducati factory rider in MotoGP as he prepares to make his final appearance for the manufacturer in Valencia.

The British rider made a high-profile switch to Ducati from Tech 3 Yamaha over the winter period, but has struggled to get comfortable on the GP14 for much of 2014, even if a podium at Motorland Aragon and a front row start in Phillip Island suggests he is beginning to find his way on the bike.

Regardless, Crutchlow has already announced his plans to exit Ducati after the final round of the season in Spain in favour of a switch to Honda machinery and the LCR team.

Indeed, though Crutchlow feels Ducati placed greater emphasis on his Italian team-mates Andrea Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone – who was classed as a factory rider as part of the Pramac set-up – over the course of the year, he says his results relative to his counterparts means it was a decision he nonetheless understood.

“My team has been great to me, my side of the garage have been great,” he told “You could say that because I wasn't getting the results that it became more difficult from then on but I also believe that I wasn't riding very well so I'm not complaining and obviously then I took my decision around the summer.

“Iannone is a factory rider as well though, he's paid by the factory and always has been, but I do believe that he got more support than me even at the start of year. I don't blame Ducati for that though because it's the way that it was and the way that it worked out. He was a factory rider as well and Ducati has three factory riders, it's just that one is in a different team.

“I don't feel that I'm an outsider but I do feel that it's difficult for a non-Italian to ride for an all-Italian team. Don't get me wrong because it showed in Australia that the team didn't give up on me and they still give me great support. It was about who was going fastest at the time and who is competitive that got the support.”

Though his time at Ducati has been shortlived, Crutchlow is comfortable with his reasons for choosing the Italian manufacturer over Yamaha.

Indeed, Crutchlow says there was no opportunity for him to progress much further with the Japanese firm regardless of his performances, even if a similar situation would go on to occur with Ducati.

“First and foremost I could have been a factory rider with Tech3 for this year and I was going to get some help from Yamaha but I wouldn't have been able to go anywhere else in the company,” he continued. “It's the same as the situation that Pol [Espargaro] has now. Where can he move for the next two years? He can't move anywhere, they've signed Jorge and Vale for the next two years. It's as simple as that and if he goes and beats them for the next two years what happens?

“I also had that feeling when I was there and that was the reason that I've also moved from Ducati because it's the same situation here because I couldn't move within the company. They signed Iannone and Dovi for two years and even if I went and won the championship with them next year where could I move to? I had to look at it from a career point of view, same as when I looked at moving from Tech3 last year. You don't just look at what's happening on track you look at everything, it's your career after all.

“I moved to the factory team and there's been many positives to being in the factory team but there's also some negatives. The biggest difference is that you get the support from the factory but as we've seen this year it's not always the case as such.”

CLICK HERE to read's full exclusive interview with Cal Crutchlow

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Crutchlow, Malaysian MotoGP Race 2014
Crutchlow after braking down, Malaysian MotoGP Race 2014
Crutchlow,, Malaysian MotoGP Race 2014
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November 01, 2014 12:18 PM

There are plenty of non-Italians who have done really well at Ducati - Bayliss & Stoner being two that immediately spring to mind. The reality is that Cal did really poorly in the first half of the season and was very undiplomatic, persistently blaming the bike and the team. The fact that he improved his performance substantially in the latter part of the season (on exactly the same bike he started the year, as he is so keen to keep pointing out) shows that it was his 'efforts' rather then the bike's failings that led to the poor results. You can therefore hardly blame Ducati for prioritising their effort with Dovi & Iannone as they were the two who were trying & doing reasonably well and it certainly had nothing to do with them being Italian. At the end of the day you invest in success, not subsidise failure.


November 01, 2014 11:34 AM

He talks of not having the opportunity to progress, but he will be in exactly the same situation at Honda. I doubt he will ever get a Repsol ride, they'll most likely continue with Pedrosa for the foreseeable future until one of the younger guys prove they have what it takes to be worthy of the seat.

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