Outgoing HRC vice president Shuhei Nakamoto has expressed surprise at Cal Crutchlow's requests for more factory backing, pointing to the Englishman's current chassis as proof that he already enjoys such support.
Crutchlow had benefited from a new HRC frame – previously raced then discarded by Dani Pedrosa in Barcelona - in the final third of the season, after sampling it for the first time at the post-race test in Brno.
A string of superb results followed, including a heroic second place at Silverstone and a second MotoGP win – the first in the dry – at Phillip Island.
While acknowledging the hard work of the LCR team and HRC afterwards, and speaking highly of his package, Crutchlow said that he felt the factory “should be helping me more and LCR as a team more.”
It appears the comment irked Nakamoto. When asked about Crutchlow's situation at a post-season debrief at the Valencia circuit on Monday, he said, “He has support in the same level [as the factory riders].
“For the satellite team this season there were one or two races where the specification was different. And also he could choose a different spec [chassis]. Again, I don't understand why [he said that]. Which area does Cal want the same? Maybe something is different but I don't know. I don't think this is the performance.”
Explaining the reasons behind providing Crutchlow with this chassis, Nakamoto continued, “In the beginning of the season, Cal's machine was the exactly same specification as Dani's. This is a completely factory specification.
“Then we tested a new chassis with Dani at the Barcelona grand prix. He used this chassis but after the grand prix test, Dani tested it again.
“Then Dani decided to go with the old one. This chassis had some positive points and also some negative points. For Dani's riding style the negative points were bigger than the positive points.
“Cal's style is different. OK, that's why he tried this one. Cal's chassis is the one with a factory specification. I don't understand why Cal said he had different than a factory specification. Which area? I'd like to know which area he is saying.”
After a tough opening six races to the season, Crutchlow's fortunes reversed spectacularly, propelling him to seventh in the final championship standings.
Asked what he will be testing at the post-race test during the final grand prix of the season, Crutchlow was enigmatic, saying, “I don't know what chassis I'll be on. I don't know what engine I'll be on either. It might be a scooter, [it] might be Moto2, [or] Moto3. It'll definitely be new I can tell you that.”
Pressed on whether that machine would include an engine different to what he ended the season on, he added, “I would say not. I honestly don't know at the moment what I'll be on at the start of next year.”