Having already spoken out to answer his critics [see separate story – click here
], Cal Crutchlow has re-affirmed his commitment to giving '100 per cent' out on-track in the World Supersport Championship – and to securing himself a Yamaha World Superbike ride in 2010.
The British Superbike graduate has impressed many within the WSS paddock with his performances so far this season, having led on his debut Down Under at Phillip Island and stormed to pole position and a podium finish just a fortnight later in Qatar.
Those results leave him sitting fourth in the title chase heading back to Europe for round three at Valencia in early April, but in order to convert his and Yamaha's evident raw pace into victory, he insists, solutions need to be found to the SSP YZF R6's weaknesses compared to the dominant Hondas in terms of adapting to hotter conditions and generating out-and-out horsepower.
“The team is working hard,” Crutchlow told Crash.net Radio
. “They're mega, and they know that the bike isn't perfect and that we're giving a little bit away in a few areas to the Honda, especially when the track condition comes up. We know this – when the track temperature is up the bike isn't anywhere near as good as it is when it's ten degrees cooler. Every single rider who has ridden the bike has said the same thing, so we just need to keep working on that.
“We're going to go away and try and find a little bit more speed as well; the bike over the last two years has been so fast – faster than anything else out on the track – but now everybody else has upped their game. I'm a little bit heavier than the other riders as well – I'm only 68 or 69 kilograms, which is a good weight and I'm very lean at it, but when you've got [Andrew] Pitt who's 65kg, Kenan [Sofuoglu] who's 65kg and Eugene [Laverty] who's 61 or 62 kilos, we've got to find a little bit more horsepower.
“I'm working my a*se off four hours a day training, just cardio-vascular work trying to keep myself as lean as possible. It's not easy – it's just the way I'm built. Some people are a little bit more muscular than others, and that's it, you know.”
The Coventry-born ace is certainly 'working his a*se' off out on the circuit, that much is plain to see, as he has impressively taken the fight to the regular WSS front-runners on tracks that have thus far been entirely new to him. What's more, the 23-year-old comfortably leads the Yamaha challenge, well ahead of his highly experienced, 2002 world champion team-mate Fabien Foret and every other one of the Japanese marque's six WSS riders. As soon as he gets back to more well-trodden ground in Europe, he argues, he will be even stronger still.
“It's going to be nice to come back to Europe, particularly the UK, and get some races under my belt there and hopefully do some winning,” he stated. “It's not going to be easy, because they've taken one of our practice sessions away due to a new rule change, so we've only got an hour on Friday afternoons instead of two 45-minute sessions. For me to go and learn some of the circuits is going to be difficult, especially if we don't test there.
“I think we just need to both keep working hard, though – me and the team – and the results will come. I'm not particularly worried; I've come into the first two races, at circuits that I've never been to, and we finished them quite strongly, so I'm happy enough.