Yamaha star Cal Crutchlow has hit back at his critics by insisting that he is 'doing a good job' in his maiden season in the World Supersport Championship – and revealed that he hopes to 'start winning races' soon to get the fans back on his side again.
The 23-year-old graduated to the international stage after finishing third in British Superbikes last year with HM Plant Honda – with two victories and ten further rostrum finishes to his name – and from the opening two meetings on the 2009 calendar he has come away with a pole position and podium in Qatar and fourth place after leading on his debut Down Under at Phillip Island.
Though the Yamaha riders are currently battling against a lack of straight-line speed in comparison to their dominant Honda rivals, Crutchlow has clearly been making the most of the equipment at his disposal – as evinced by the fact that he has thus far comfortably out-performed his vastly more experienced, former title-winning team-mate Fabien Foret and currently sits a full eight spots and 20 points clear of the next highest-placed Yamaha contender in the chase for the crown.
“It isn't necessarily just that,” the Coventry-born ace told Crash.net Radio
, when asked about Honda's power advantage. “We're working hard in every area where they're stronger. That's what my job is and what Yamaha's job is.
“I think our package in some areas is better than theirs, but if it was perfect then there would be other Yamaha riders right up there or winning races, which we haven't seen. Honda have won the title for the last God knows how many years, so it's my job and the team's job to make it possible for Yamaha to win the title, and we're working hard to do that.
“It's quite funny – I see stuff on Crash.net
posted by readers and it makes me laugh, because if it was easy they'd come and do it. They say things like there are better riders out there and stuff like that, but you know, I'm not interested. I can prove my critics wrong. As I said, I'm the top Yamaha rider and that's all that matters at the minute. We're doing a good job, so we'll just have to wait and see.
“I want support from the British fans as always – it's not easy when a lot of them criticise people, but it's good when they're behind you. I've got a nice fan base I think, and I try to be as media-friendly as I can for them as well. I want them to enjoy their weekends, and ultimately they buy the bikes that pay the bills to let us go racing. If I can please them and start winning races and get them on my side, that will help the cause as well.”
Crutchlow added that he had no hard feelings about his erstwhile BSB rival Tom Sykes – the man he beat into third spot in the final 2008 standings – being awarded a World Superbike ride with Yamaha whilst he had to settle for Supersport, explaining that he is fully focussed on joining the Yorkshireman on the WSBK grid in 2010.
Another Yamaha rider he would likely face there is current man-of-the-moment Ben Spies – and the 2006 British Supersport Champion acknowledged that the American is 'doing a mega job'.