Having regained the rostrum in race one at Monza – and fought for victory in the second outing prior to being forced out of contention – Cal Crutchlow has revealed that his goal at Kyalami this weekend is to successfully break his World Superbike Championship duck.
Crutchlow shadowed Yamaha Sterilgarda team-mate James Toseland across the line for third place in the opening encounter around the legendary Autodromo Nazionale, and was hassling Max Biaggi for the lead in race two, until stones flicked up by the Italian's Aprilia pierced a hole in the oil cooler of his YZF-R1 and caused the reigning World Supersport Champion to spin and crash out on his own oil – somewhat appropriately, perhaps, on lap 13.
The 24-year-old is palpably eager to make amends in South Africa, where last year he set pole position and finished runner-up to season-long rival Eugene Laverty en route
to the WSS laurels – and his objective, he makes clear, is to go one spot higher still twelve months on.
“I just want to get back on the bike as soon as possible and race again,” the Coventry-born star enthused. “I couldn't believe how unlucky we were at Monza to get a stone in the oil cooler when we were running so well. I enjoyed racing at Kyalami last year in Supersport – I fought hard for a good second place on the podium – so this year I want to win in Superbikes!”
“After the Monza race, we saw that we had reached a good level of performance with Cal to bring here,” added Crutchlow's crew chief Marcus Eschenbacher. “We know the circuit is difficult because of the grip levels, the altitude and the bumpy track conditions.
“We will try to make the bike suit this by working on changing the suspension set-up to be more comfortable over the bumps. We also need to find a better grip level, and maybe we will have to compromise a bit of steering sharpness to get the best out of the bike for these conditions. We'll probably go for a softer chassis set-up and softer damping than normal to start with, and see how we get on in the first session on Friday.”