6 September 2016
MotoGP San Marino: Crutchlow 'at higher level than 2013'
'I would say I'm actually a little better than 2013 because the bike I'm on is not as competitive' - Cal Crutchlow.
Cal Crutchlow feels he is in the best moment of his MotoGP career after a stunning run of results that has enabled the LCR Honda rider to take 66 points from four races.
Crutchlow has climbed to eighth place in the MotoGP World Championship standings and is three points behind factory Ducati rider Andrea Dovizioso in seventh and 10 adrift of Andrea Iannone, who is currently sixth.
The 30-year-old's form picked up with an excellent ride to second place at the Sachsenring in Germany and Crutchlow has been on a roll since, claiming his maiden premier classic victory at Brno in the Czech Republic before sealing a sensational pole and second place in his home race at Silverstone.
His performances have revived memories of Crutchlow's strong form on the Tech 3 Yamaha in 2013, but the British rider believes he is riding at a higher level now than he was three seasons ago.
“I feel I'm at a good level and Herve [Poncharal] and Daniele [Romagnoli] both texted me last night and said, 'you're back to 2013, keep it going'. So it's nice to know that,” Crutchlow said. “I would say I'm actually a little better than 2013 because the bike I'm on is not as competitive.”
Crutchlow's confidence is sky high and he admits he admits his victory at Brno has given him an extra edge.
“It comes with confidence doesn't it? Look at Lorenzo. His bike is as good as Valentino's and he's finished eighth. It's a little bit about confidence. I don't think that he's suddenly lost it. Maybe in five races we won't see him for 10-seconds, he'll be gone. It's just the way it is at the time and you have to take advantage of it when you can. But 66 points in four races is nice.”
Crutchlow has also taken great satisfaction from being the highest scoring rider over the last four races on the satellite Honda and credits his team for remaining committed to the task in hand.
“Yeah, but my team have worked hard for it. Beefy [crew chief] sent Lucy a message not long back saying 'we'll get him back to the podium' and it's nice that they didn't – not give up on me because that never happens in this sport – but it's nice to be able to repay them because they've worked as hard for me as I do for myself. We'll see what happens from now in the next coming weeks with some things that are going on with Lucio [Cecchinello] and Honda. Let's see.”
He raced with a new chassis at Silverstone, which he has been evaluating for Honda. However, Crutchlow says the jury is still out over whether or not it is an improvement over the chassis he was using previously.
“It wasn't very good to be honest, should have used the other one! I don't know if it's better, honestly we're still in that moment of saying is it better, is it not? I went faster with the new hard tyre with the other one, and pace was exactly the same… I don't know. Would I have done the same today on the other chassis? Probably. I would have just done it in a different area of the circuit.
“I think at the moment it's still a bit difficult to know, we need another race to test some things,” added Crutchlow, who is unsure if he will use the chassis at Misano this weekend.
“But as I said earlier it's nothing that I've got and nobody else has the option to have. They had the option and at the moment they don't use it. I am evaluating it for them to get miles on it as well, and I'm willing to do that because I want to improve the bike for me and for Honda. Maybe in the long run that will pay off and definitely next year.”
After becoming a father for the first time recently, Crutchlow was asked if the responsibility had contributed to his upturn in results.
“I don't know. I have another person to provide for in my family now. I want to make the inheritance as big as possible for her and it's as simple as that. It doesn't stop me taking risks and committing my life to making sure I am fast,” he said.
“Sure I commit my life more to her now than racing, because I have a baby. But I still work as hard, so does Lucy. It's not easy, I think, with how much we travel blah, blah, blah but I still want to do it. Carmelo [Ezpeleta] said to me, 'you need to make another [baby] now'!”
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