Cal Crutchlow has vowed to disprove his critics as he graduates to the World Superbike Championship (WSBK) in 2010, explaining that he will not be putting himself under any undue pressure to perform in his first season and promising to punch above his weight in taking the fight to riders who on the face of it he should have no chance of beating.

Crutchlow will join the WSBK grid with the Yamaha works outfit off the back of a dominant campaign in the World Supersport Championship (WSS) - and on paper at least, it is a daunting prospect. Not only will he have double world champion James Toseland as a team-mate, but he will also be with the same team that swept to title glory in 2009 with Ben Spies.

Throw into the mix rivals of the calibre of former MotoGP runner-up Max Biaggi, two-time WSBK Champion Troy Corser, ex team-mate Leon Haslam, reigning British Superbike Champion Leon Camier, runaway 2008 BSB Champion Shane Byrne, eternal bridesmaid Noriyuki Haga and fellow British front-runners Jonny Rea and Tom Sykes, and merely finishing inside the top ten begins to look like something of an achievement in itself.

From speaking to the 24-year-old, though, it swiftly becomes apparent that running around in the midfield as he finds his feet is far from Crutchlow's intention. Having triumphed five times and set a staggering ten pole positions from 14 attempts in WSS in 2009, nobody is in any doubt at all as regards his raw speed - and the Coventry-born ace makes clear that he plans to be battling right up at the sharp end from the word 'go' in his new surroundings too.

"It's going to be a big challenge, for definite," he acknowledged, speaking exclusively to Radio, "but I'm looking forward to it. Challenges are what I enjoy and why I work hard off the track, and I come to the track normally with a lot of determination and a lot more aggression than some of the other riders. Challenges are what I'm up for.

"I took the risk to come into Supersport this year and took to that challenge quite well, after not knowing half of the circuits - and hopefully if we can do that again next year, it will be rewarding. I'm under no illusions as to how hard it's going to be, and I'm not sitting here saying I'm going to beat the world - like I didn't [say that] this year - but if we can do a good job then I'll be very pleased.

"It's all about enjoying it - which I am doing - and working hard, because you want to keep going up. Making the step to Superbikes is the right move, and hopefully we can do what Ben [Spies] and Valentino [Rossi] have done and try to win some of those championships as well. I'm taking one step at a time, and am just going to go in there with an open mind and look forward to it.

"I've got my own goals, the same as I did this year, but I don't let anybody know what they are. I can tell you now that I want to be the first Yamaha home, but I also want to do a good job. Everybody wants to win the races - that's why we all sit there on the grid - so anybody who says they don't is talking rubbish, or else they wouldn't be there.

"The calibre in WSBK is phenomenal, and the reality is that there are six or seven guys in there that should be beating me - should being the key word. I'm just going to go out there and do my job. I know what my job is, and I know what I have to do to please people. I'm going to go out there and do it for myself. I've worked hard this year, and I'm going to carry on working hard next year. I've got the determination to do it, I'm looking forward to doing it - and to be honest I can't wait to get on the bike again!"

Crutchlow has already sampled Spies' championship-winning Yamaha YZF-R1 at both Portim?o and Valencia, and has impressed WSBK regulars with both his pace and consistency - even if there was a 'big crash' in Portugal caused by an ageing rear tyre that he admits 'got me quite down in the dumps really'. That apart, though, things are looking good.

"It spat me off for no reason at all," he recounted of the fall. "I was tipping into a corner and it flicked me off. It hurt, and I had to relax a bit after that but we went back out on the second day and we did a good job. My crew chief from this year has come with me, and we worked through some stuff including suspension, data and electronics. We didn't do too much; we just touched the base of what the bike can do, I think. There are going to be some alterations and improvements to the bike for next year, definitely.

"To work hard at that test was crucial, but I think we did a good job, didn't use too many tyres, just plodded away and set some decent lap times on old rubber, which was good and is what I like doing. All year in 600s this year we were doing fastest laps towards the end of the race; consistency is the key, and if you can do fast laps at the end of runs or at the end of the tyres, that's the way it should be - as Jonny Rea proved this year."

Responding finally to the criticism occasionally levelled at him by readers, Crutchlow admitted that his sole manner of placating his detractors is to produce the goods on the racetrack - and he insists he will be doing his utmost to do just that in 2010.

"It's good for me to go on [the website] and read a bit of criticism," he reflected. "It's easy for the people who don't ride or race bikes to say things. Thanks to everybody who's posted nice comments, and to the ones who don't post nice comments, hopefully we'll prove you wrong. That's my job, so I'll just keep my head down, do what I have to do - and hopefully win another world title."