British hope Cal Crutchlow says he has been humbled by the reception he has received at Silverstone as he carries the weight of expectation
on his shoulders heading into Sunday's 12th round of the MotoGP World Championship.
Crutchlow was already on a high after becoming the first Briton in 35 years to win a premier class race following his magnificent triumph in the wet at Brno in the Czech Republic a fortnight ago, and the LCR Honda rider achieved another milestone during final qualifying on Saturday, clinching pole in the rain to become the first British rider since Sheene to seal the top spot on the grid on home soil since 1977.
The 30-year-old has raised excitement levels amongst the British fans to an unprecedented level going into his home race and Crutchlow admits he has been moved by the support he has received this week.
“Honestly, it's really nice and as I've said the whole weekend in interviews I've done the reception I get is always fantastic. Honestly, I'm not saying I don't care about the reception, but I'm just glad they're here watching motorcycle racing. It's nice for people in Britain to be watching what we believe is the best sport in the world and enjoying it,” he said.
“If they have their own guys to support, that's fine but I really appreciate the reception I got on Wednesday when I arrived first and foremost, on Thursday and now today with the pole position – it's been really humbling and a nice experience.
“You're always going to feel pressure with a crowd that wants what the British crowd and public do. I think that's normal and we know in Spain all the Spanish riders can share it and they all say that Barcelona is their home Grand Prix, but none of them live there,” he added.
“I think that sure, there's pressure if you're a British rider here and over the years it hasn't gone so well, but I don't necessarily think that was [due to] too much pressure. I honestly think that last year would've been a good year as well, wet or dry; I'll try my best that's all I can do.”
Crutchlow has been improving on the Honda in the final part of the season but feels progress with the electronics has stalled, although he was at pains to stress the effort being put in by Honda to iron out the RCV's issues with acceleration.
“I felt we made a good step about four races ago, five races ago with the electronics, but now it is at a standstill I believe. The Honda is working well in general but it's quite hard to ride at the moment, quite physical, but in the last races we seem to be able to make the bike work and me, Marc [Marquez] and Dani [Pedrosa] seem to be quite good in both conditions.
“It's getting a little better and we know Honda are working so hard, so we keep giving them the information to improve week after week,” said Crutchlow.
“Hopefully before the end of the year maybe we can try something new that might be able to help us and look forward to next year also, because we know with the engines being sealed it's difficult to improve at the next race.
“We're pleased with the support that LCR get from Honda and we work very closely with them and I'm pleased with the relationship I have. In general, I think we're all riding better as well but for sure it is hard work.”