Part two of an exclusive interview with MotoGP star Cal Crutchlow.

After talking about his move to the Factory Ducati team, the Englishman answered questions on his time at Tech 3 Yamaha, the performances of Marc Marquez, Jorge Lorenzo, Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro, the future of MotoGP and more...
Looking back on your time at Tech 3, two great seasons after a tough learning year, was there anything more you could have got from the bike. Are there any regrets?

Cal Crutchlow:
It's very easy to look back now and say 'I think I could have won a race or got more podiums'. I don't spend time thinking 'coulda, woulda, shoulda'. But being honest I do wish I had stayed on the package I had at the start of this year and Yamaha would have let me carry on with that for the rest of the year.

I lost my way a little bit and also the team as well. We were using too many different combinations of bike. We had a brand new tank and seat unit that I was screaming for at the start of the year. Then when we used it we worked out I didn't like it. But we weren't using it with the same chassis as the factory team, so we didn't know if the tank and seat was working as it was for them. I was also using a different link to the other guys.

Overall it was not the combination I liked. I would have preferred to have been slower at the start of the race, as I was at the start of the year, and been faster and more competitive at the end of the race. Instead I gained a few seconds at the start and was not as strong at the end.

But I had a very good package over my three years at Tech 3. Looking back I definitely wish I could have had more podiums and won a race. But that's easy to say! Most of the riders in MotoGP haven't done that. Most of the guys that have ever raced in MotoGP haven't done that. There's time for me yet.

Now my focus is doing that with someone else, but I had a fantastic three years at Tech 3. Well, two years - the first year was a disaster! But as Herve said we needed that year to sort me out. I had to refocus, learn that a lot of the mistakes were from myself and not blame the team because I was trying to ride the bike like a Superbike. I hold my hands up to that.

I've learnt to ride a grand prix bike a lot more now. But I still think preparation for MotoGP is a lot, lot easier through the smaller grand prix classes than racing Superbike and changing.
Was there a point where you felt you changed from being a Superbike rider to a MotoGP rider?

Cal Crutchlow:
In the 2012 Sepang test, at the start of the year. I'd had time to reflect over the winter about what I needed to do. I came back stronger. I listened to my crew. I listened to Daniele [Romagnoli, crew chief] and Nico [Goyon, data engineer]. They said 'you need to this, need to do that'. I came back at Sepang and started to do it.

It took a lot of time. And it's still ongoing now. My riding style is not perfect by any means and I'm always trying to improve. It's very difficult. I don't think I'm as naturally talented as the other guys. I didn't grow up riding a motorbike particularly. I certainly didn't grow up racing. I only started at 14. The other guys have been racing since they were three or whatever.

I have to work at it a little harder, but that's what makes it sweeter for me when we get a result. I'm more of a natural football player than I am a natural motorbike racer I can tell you that! But every year I'm able to adapt my style a little more and be a little stronger.

I tell you there was a point back in 2011, after five or six aces in, where if someone had offered me a World Superbike job I'd have taken it. I had a two-year contract but I was that adamant that I couldn't ride these things.

I was just in a bad place in my career. I'd gone from being competitive in World Superbike to absolutely nowhere in GP. Obviously I came back the following year and was competitive, but that took a lot of hard work. A lot of self-belief and confidence to work out what I needed to go faster.

Every year it seems to be improving, so hopefully next year will be the same.
What are the main differences between riding a Superbike fast and a MotoGP bike fast? Is it a completely different style?

Cal Crutchlow:
Yeah it's completely different really and the guys that you are racing against, I promise you, you cannot imagine how fast they are.

Don't get me wrong the competitiveness in World Superbike now is great. Really good and really strong. But I was at the front of that championship when I left and then I went to MotoGP and I was close to getting lapped at some races - well 40-50 seconds behind.

Guys I thought were no good before I got here, I was getting hammered by. The competitiveness of MotoGP is without doubt the hardest thing. It is not just about riding the bikes, it's the strength of the riders you are racing against as well.
You mentioned that you started racing relatively late, could you explain a bit more about how it all began for you?

Cal Crutchlow:
My Dad was racing as a privateer. I used to go to the races at weekends but I had no more interest than messing about on a bicycle or riding around on a little PW50. Just going around fast on it - because I was crazy!

I was just interested in playing Football. I played for years and got to a good level. I had a few injuries that I've still got now, my knees are bad from the running and hard tackles. But I thought if I was going to do anything it was become a footballer.

Then there came a point where I said to my Dad, 'I want to ride a motorbike'. Just to see what it was like. We literally went out, got a bike and I did my first race two weeks later. On my first ever lap around a track I made three corners and crashed!

I'd never used a clutch. I'd never done anything. All I'd seen were these guys on TV - like Mick Doohan - put their knee straight on the floor. So I just went out and did the same. I did get my knee down... followed by my elbow, my head and everything else!

I knew absolutely nothing! My starts then were exactly the same as now: I'd go from the front of the grid to the back. Nothing's changed there!

Seriously, I'm critical of myself and I know starts are one massive area where I need to improve. That's next on the list. I needed to improve my braking at the start of my MotoGP career, needed to work on how I change down gears. Now I need to practice my starts more. I'm always looking to improve.

My way to MotoGP has been a lot different to others. But for sure I've had some great sponsors over the years, won a British Championship and a World Championship. To hear people say I'm the most successful British rider in MotoGP for a long time is nice and really humbling.

But I never look at statistics. Being competitive and knowing that you've done a good race and given your all means more than breaking this or that record, because at the end of the day we're still a long way off in the championship.
Looking at some of your rivals in this year's championship, you were often able to fight with Valentino Rossi on the factory bike, but Jorge Lorenzo seemed to have something extra over all of the other Yamaha riders. Where does he gain the time?

Cal Crutchlow:
The way you have to look at Lorenzo is - he was miles ahead of me and Valentino. Miles ahead. You almost have to take him out of the equation. I don't understand how he does it and nor does any other Yamaha rider. No matter who you speak to, even the engineers; they don't really understand why he is so far ahead of us.

But of course racing with Valentino was good. At the start of the year I was beating him for a little while, then he started to beat me. He was just a bit more consistent. He was a little faster at some races. Overall it normally worked out that I was faster but I just never had the end result. Valentino is a class act. He has won nine world championships for a reason. You don't just fall on them.

But now to beat Lorenzo is very, very difficult. To beat Lorenzo you've got to have the same, if not better machinery. We never had the same, Valentino had the same but neither of us could beat him. Lorenzo, especially in the second half of the year, was in an absolutely different league.

But I've always said Marc deserved the title.
You've been a supporter of Marc since long before he got to MotoGP. As a fellow rider, what is it that impresses you most about him?

Cal Crutchlow:
Well I'm very pleased to say I won a lot of bets this year! I won a bet with my management company that he would win within the first three races, so he earned me a bit of spare cash there. And then I also bet that he would win the title and he followed through for me on that as well!

He's unbelievable, to do what's he done. You cannot imagine how fast these guys are and he came in and at some races made everyone look stupid. Me included.

You see the difference between two rookies - Bradley and Marc. Bradley did a fantastic job this year. I really have to say he did a good job. He had a bad start to the year with a few crashes, but then he learnt to ride the bike and had a very good year.

But then you look at Marc and he won the championship up against Lorenzo, in top form, and also Dani. Take nothing away from Bradley, he did a great job, but Marc was unbelievable. How he could do that. He is going to be the guy to beat again next year for sure.
Did Marc deserve the criticism that he got from some of the other riders this year?

Cal Crutchlow:
That's the way Marc rides. The thing is with Marc, if you rode into the side of him and knocked him off, obviously he wouldn't be happy but he would get up, shake your hand and an hour later he would have a smile on his face.

And he would expect the same from other people. If he knocked you off and you were both in the gravel, he would shake your hand and say 'sorry' and that's it.

That's why Marc is the way he is. I really believe that. He doesn't listen to any media, any crap that anybody says, he doesn't care what Jorge says. He has a smile on his face, goes racing, loves what he does and was the fastest this year.

I think a lot of riders in MotoGP now could take a lot of benefit from that.

Yes Marc is riding hard. No doubt. But ten years ago nobody would have said a thing. So I don't really understand why it is that different now. The bikes were still doing 200mph ten years ago.
Marquez didn't actually knock anyone down as such, it was only the freak incident with the sensor that caused Pedrosa to fall...

Cal Crutchlow:
Don't get me wrong, if he would have hit me and cut my sensor like with Pedrosa, I'd have been angry too. But you have to look at it and say 'it's racing'. What happens if Jorge had done that to Dani when they made contact at the last race? There wouldn't have been a lot said.

It's because it was Marc and because he was annoying people with how fast he was. That's the simple truth.
You often mention telling the truth and have never been afraid to speak your mind...

Cal Crutchlow:
During my career I've always told the truth as I see it. I'm not going to lie to people. So if it's what I feel, then I say it and sometimes people don't seem to like it! People sometimes don't like to hear opinions that are different from their own.

I always look to see how many comments there are on and normally it will be me, Valentino and Lewis Hamilton who get the most comments. I don't need to read the comments because I know it will be, 'he shouldn't say that'. But the interest is clearly there and if I'm asked my opinion I'm not going to make something up.

I respect other people's opinions, especially fans, but I just wish they would try to be more informed sometimes and I would say please don't jump to conclusions just because you heard something on TV. Unless you work in the team it's difficult for anybody to really know the true story about the Ducati or anything else. So try to keep an open mind.

But don't get me wrong, the interest MotoGP gets now is great and the support I get personally from the vast majority of people is fantastic and I really appreciate it.

At places like Silverstone this year it was unbelievable. A couple of years ago when I sat on the grid in World Superbike I thought it couldn't get much better - never did I think I'd get the reception that I had this year at Silverstone.

Even though I had a disaster, everybody still had T-Shirts, Flags and I tried my best to sign every autograph I could. I love seeing the kids there because I used to be a kid at a motorbike race with my Dad, getting autographs from people like Rob Mac. I know what it's like.

The support for me this year has grown unbelievably and hopefully those people will still support me next year during the new venture at Ducati.
What do you think about the UK's TV coverage moving to BT Sport next year?

Cal Crutchlow:
That is a prime example of where people seem to disagree with me lately! People are going absolutely mad about having to have BT Sport to watch MotoGP in the UK next year. But you see all the people that watch football on Sky Sports, or that buy a newspaper every day to read about sport. Full coverage of MotoGP next year won't cost much more than a newspaper a day and is free if you have the broadband.

It's going to be a proper, proper show. All the people that they want are in it for a start. They're going to have coverage from 9am to 6pm, a mid-week show, an after-show with riders in the studio, they are going to be able to rewind and highlight things that happened on the track. I think when people finally see the show a lot of people will understand why it's gone the way it's gone. But in every country it's like that now, it's the way sport is going on TV.

I'm really, really proud to be an ambassador of BT Sport because of what they are doing for the sport. How this is going to make MotoGP look is how we want it to look. Better and better. I want people to watch motorbike racing so of course I'm going to promote it, people can't have a go at me for promoting it. MotoGP is what I love and I want people to see it.
From what you are saying it sounds like the MotoGP coverage will be at a similar level to F1 on Sky...

Cal Crutchlow:
When we first sat down with BT Sport and the guys there - and they've got a great group - they said to us it needs to be similar if not better than the F1. And I like the F1 show.
Who do you think people watching on TV will see fighting for the title next season? Another Marquez/Lorenzo battle? Pedrosa? Rossi?

Cal Crutchlow:
I don't know what's going to go on, because Lorenzo is going to come out faster than ever, Valentino has got a new motivation again - but Marc's going to be fast. No doubt about that. I can't see him slowing down. He'll be faster and faster and very difficult to beat.

But I like Dani. Dani's a silent assassin. You saw what happened after Aragon. He was angry and annoyed, came to Malaysia and absolutely hammered everyone. I wish Dani had that every week because I don't think people would see which way he went.
How do you think your former Tech 3 team-mate Bradley will get on against Pol Espargaro?

Cal Crutchlow:
I know there's going to be a lot of inter-team rivalry there, which is good I think.

Bradley is a good rider. No doubt - and he's come on so much this year. I think at the start of the year even he would admit that it was difficult. He was exactly the same as me. He wouldn't listen to the team on how the bike should be ridden, because he thought his way was better. As soon as he did start to listen - he was very fast at the end of the year.

He kept wanting my bike package! I know that! And all I wanted to do was give it to him, because I think it would have really suited his riding style and what suited my riding style was what he had. He was riding what I had the podiums on at the start of the year. But we weren't allowed to swap.

Pol is going to be very hard to beat next year though. I spoke to some guys in the team that I used to work with and they said he is already very fast. Which obviously shows that Yamaha did a good thing, choosing a good rider from Moto2 and maybe he'll be the one to take over the top spot from Lorenzo at Yamaha in a few years.

It'll be interesting to see how it pans out with Pol and Bradley. It'll be more difficult for Pol going to circuits for the first time on a MotoGP bike, but if you look at how he was at Valencia he was very strong. I think we're all impressed with him and he did a great job.

Secretly obviously I want Bradley to do better. Me and Bradley get on great. It'll be good for me to sit back and watch. I've got lots of great friends at the team, so I can go in and stir it up a bit every now and then!
What about MotoGP as a whole, any changes you'd like to see to perhaps make the racing closer?

Cal Crutchlow:
I think Carmelo [Ezpeleta, Dorna CEO] is doing the best job he can. I'd hate to be in his position. You cannot imagine how much he has to deal with. Above everything I would say Carmelo is a friend. But he's got everyone giving him all this feedback - riders, manufacturers, circuits, fans, teams - and then he has to try and make a championship out of it.

It's not easy because we all want different things. There are so many things involved and then he's got people saying, 'we want close racing' on top of that. But at the end of the day, the racing is the racing. If there are three Spaniards at the front and they are faster than everyone else, that is the way it is. You can't ask them to slow down!

That said, I think the rules that he is going to bring in soon will really help the championship. With the electronics - and if they bring in a rule where each manufacturer provides the same bike to all its riders. I believe that would be very good because more guys will be competitive.

Don't get me wrong, the same guys will still be at the front. Jorge is not going to suddenly drop to the back that's for sure! But I think it would just bring it a little closer again. This year has been closer than recent years though.

The big problem now I believe in MotoGP is rider weight. Me and Valentino have said about it this year. Also you saw Aleix Espargaro have to jump off his bike because his brakes failed at Motegi, but I really believe that was down to his weight.

Me, Valentino and Aleix are the heaviest guys and next year it will be Scott Redding as well. The bikes are so fast and we can't stop, we have problems with our brakes more than the others. If you look at the difference between me and Dani Pedrosa. It's ridiculous. He's 20kg lighter than me. We're talking about tenths of a second per lap, but he's got 20kg less to stop and accelerate. That's a big difference around a lap.

Marc's maybe twelve kilos lighter than me. Jorge's maybe eight. I'm small but I'm one of the heaviest guys on the grid because of my body type. I've got hardly any body fat, I don't go to the gym to put on muscle because I'm naturally quite muscular. If I was to get any lighter - I could probably lose two kilos - I'd be sick all the time with all the travelling.

There are a lot of factors in going fast in MotoGP, but that is one area we want the championship to look at. But then you'd have Dani saying, 'well if you add 10kg to my bike I can't ride it because it's too heavy for me'. So it could be a losing battle with that one I think.

Generally the championship is going the right way and the racing is getting closer.
Before we started recording you mentioned some injuries other than the arm you damaged at Silverstone...

Cal Crutchlow:
Yeah I had my shoulder operated on in 2010, on the cuff of my shoulder. It detached from a crash that I'd had. The shoulder has since had arthritis in it and it's been bugging me a little bit. It's the same [left] shoulder I've got the plate in. So I'll have to manage that and see how it goes.

At the moment the decision is not to take an operation because it's not horrendous. I can ride the motorbike. It's just aching quite a lot at the moment. I was thinking of potentially having the plate out and have the shoulder done, but it puts you back some time.

Hopefully it'll calm down. After a season of racing it probably just needs a few months off.

My knees from over the years are wrecked. I was looking at having them done but have decided not to have them operated on either. So I'll go to California with Lucy for the winter. We'll spend two months there where I can get out cycling and training and have a bit of a break from racing.

18 grands prix a year of travelling around the world - it's the best job in the world and I wouldn't change it at all. But people think you get to go everywhere and see everything. The reality is you go to the racetrack, hotel and airport!

So I'm looking forward to getting to America and refocusing for next season.
Thanks Cal.

Cal Crutchlow:
No problem. You're welcome.

CLICK HERE to read part one of the interview...



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