Cal Crutchlow has admitted that he would feel more secure heading into the final four meetings on the 2009 World Supersport Championship calendar with a 43-point advantage in the title chase rather than the 17-point lead he does have following his potentially costly Brno retirement – but he has vowed to keep pushing flat-out all the way to the end.
Crutchlow was dominating the most recent round on the calendar in the Czech Republic at the end of last month when his Yamaha SSP YZF R6 let him down just over a lap from the chequered flag – handing his chief rival for the crown, Parkalgar Honda ace Eugene Laverty, an instant get-out-of-jail-free card.
Had it not been for his misfortune, the former HM Plant Honda British Superbike Championship front-runner would practically have had one hand on the riders' trophy heading next to the Nürburgring in Germany at the beginning of September – but as it is the heat is still on.
“I don't know what to say about it,” Crutchlow reflected, speaking to Crash.net Radio
. “These things happen in racing, but all I know now is that I would have been 43 points ahead in the championship rather than 17, and I'm disappointed by that. It was devastating for me and my team; my boys were even more cut-up about it than me, because they thought it was their fault.
“Our bikes are good bikes and they never really break down, so it was just one of those unfortunate things, and it happened with just two laps to go when I had a 7.2-second lead and eleven seconds over Eugene. It was disappointing for me not to be able to take more points off Eugene when he was down. He was finished that weekend – he'd crashed three times – and he was riding round in sixth place in the race, and I never got to take full advantage when his morale was low. He would have gone to the next race in a much worse condition than he's going to now, because he's only 17 points behind.
“I had sheer pace at Brno ahead of everybody else, and I was completely in control of the race, just cruising round doing lap times that were half a second slower than what I could have been doing. I proved that in practice and qualifying, when I did a 2m02s flat after eleven laps on the tyres in qualifying. We knew what we were capable of doing and we didn't take any risks, so we're disappointed that we never got the result but we know that's how racing goes sometimes.
“I'm not saying if we'd won the race in Brno we would have had the championship won – it's not over until the last lap of the last race. People were saying 'you would have done it if you'd won the race', but I don't believe in that. I believe in just keeping working hard and taking it as it comes. Yes, I am thinking about the championship, but I just want to do my job. I want to win races and keep doing what I'm doing.”
Winning races is something Crutchlow has proven himself to be more than adept at this season already, with four triumphs from ten starts to his credit. Even more notably still, the 23-year-old has set a staggering seven pole positions, lapping almost a full second out of reach of any of his rivals in Brno and more than half a second clear in front of his adoring partisan supporters at Donington Park a month earlier. He would not make it easy for himself on home turf, however...
“Donington for me was a fantastic experience,” he underlined. “To win in front of my home crowd with all the people there was emotional, though I know I didn't make it easy for myself. I went there with a lot of pressure and I crashed on the first lap of practice; that was my own fault, but we were on a really hard rear tyre that I'd never previously used. I just made the stupid mistake of getting on the throttle too much, high-sided it and broke my ankle and tore ligaments on both sides.