“It was a weird feeling just riding round thinking 'I don't even need to push in this race at all, I just need to finish in the top ten'. I was hard-charging over the year and I'm quite an aggressive rider, and in the races where we did dominate I used aggression and pulled away. Riding around in Portugal to finish fourth wasn't the happiest thing I've ever done – but winning the title was.
“It was quite emotional after all the hard work we'd put in over the year. Yamaha hadn't won the title in nine years, and it was the same crew as had won back then. They've been fighting against Honda ever since – except when [Andrew] Pitt won for Kawasaki – so they were desperate to win, and the emotion that we've all been through over the year is a lot.
“Yamaha were open in saying that the package was good in some areas, but that the Honda package was a lot better in others; we had a fast bike top-end going into the corner, but we lost it all mid-corner and coming out of the corner. It was six of one and half a dozen of the other really, but I think we did well coming out on top, and if it hadn't been for the breakdown and the crash we would have won it two races before the end, at least.”
Nonetheless, in clinching the crown, Crutchlow added his name to an illustrious roll call of Yamaha title-winners in 2009, alongside MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi and World Superbike Championship (WSBK) sensation Ben Spies. Whilst he is quick to underline the calibre of the opposition he had to overcome in order to accomplish that, the Coventry-born star hopes equally that his critics will recognise the value of his tremendous achievement.
“It's nice to win a world title against guys that have been in MotoGP before like Pitt and Garry McCoy,” he reflected in conclusion. “You're up against other world champions too like Kenan [Sofuoglu], and Eugene was the phenomenon of the year with the way he was riding against me. He was really good and it wasn't easy at all, but to be on that list of Yamaha winners [is fantastic]. People seem to forget that I am on the list, but I won the championship and I want to continue and just better myself.”
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