Fresh from his first World Superbike Championship race wins at Silverstone, Cal Crutchlow has revealed he is 'speaking closely' with Yamaha about a possible graduation to MotoGP in 2011.
The Yamaha Sterilgarda rider had been enduring an occasionally troublesome season on the 2009 championship-winning R1 until he swept the board at Silverstone with a pole position and two wins, results that lift him from tenth to fifth in the standings.
Speaking to Crash.net
prior to his dominant turn, Crutchlow admitted he had been struggling to get the bike to work over a race distance, lamenting the manufacturer's inability to bring updates to the R1 due to financial constraints.
Insisting his performances over a single lap – which have now resulted in five pole positions in ten attempts this year – are more indicative of his front-running pace at WSBK level, Crutchlow is relaxed in the knowledge that Yamaha - whom he describes as 'fantastic' - and others in the paddock are aware of his true capabilities.
“Where I am in the championship doesn't reflect that [my pace] at all,” he said ahead of his five-place leap. “Luckily for me, most people in this paddock know that and Yamaha also know that.
“I have no problem doing the fast pace and laps, but they [Yamaha] can see how difficult it is – they can see it on the data. They aren't stupid. We've had no updates with the bike, other than twelve extra horsepower, but that just made things worse. Yamaha coming to the table with nothing new all year is disappointing but everyone is battling the economy because development costs are horrendous.
“The only teams that have test teams are Aprilia and BMW and they are the ones making big strides every weekend. You can't have a development or test team organised within two days. You need people out in Japan riding the bike, but it costs millions and it is not the economy for Yamaha to be able to do it. So we have to do it at a race circuit instead. But we will keep plugging away and all I can do is my best. I am trying my hardest and I think it shows.”
Casting his eye on the future, Crutchlow's stock with Yamaha is high, with the Coventry man heavily rumoured to be on his way to MotoGP with the manufacturer, either in 2011 or 2012.
Earmarked to possibly take on a Tech 3 Yamaha, particularly if Yamaha WSBK predecessor Ben Spies joins FIAT Yamaha, Crutchlow remains coy on the subject, but says talks are taking place.