Cal Crutchlow has spoken of his pleasure at securing a two-year factory contract for the 2018 and '19 seasons, and stated the other offers he received were no match for what HRC had tabled.

At 31 years old, Crutchlow had offers to race elsewhere, with Aprilia believed to be one of the factories offering him a deal. In the end, however, it was a factory contract with Honda that Crutchlow was after. "What I wanted, I got," he said.

The Englishman will remain in Lucio Cecchinello's LCR satellite outfit for '18, and, in all likelihood, '19, although, with Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa out of contract at the end of next season, where Crutchlow will race cannot be confirmed for now.

"Obviously, I'm pleased," he said at Assen. "I had some great offers on the table. HRC made just as good an offer if not better, it means I get to stay with the same team, the team I worked with for the past three years. For me to change and go somewhere else I don't see the point.

"My aim is not to be in a factory team. I'm not here to be in a factory team. I'm here to win. I'm in a satellite team so it's possible. I don't think it would make any difference. I'm happy with where I am. I think my team do a good enough job. What I wanted, I got. Why would I think of changing? Why would I leave?"

On whether the deal will see him stay in LCR colours in both '18 and '19, he said, "I don't know. At the moment yes but anything can happen. As I said, when I signed the contract, I signed thinking I would be in LCR. I have no reason to change. But I'm also under contract to HRC so if I have to ride in Moto3 then I have to do that. I don't know. I think mainly it's where I am but you never know."

While Crutchlow was at pains to emphasise the current level of support he and the LCR team are receiving from Honda, he said the difference of being contracted to HRC may lead to receiving new parts faster, and having more factory engineers in his garage.

"The [difference could be] people in the team, the accessibility of getting things faster. There is a lot of stuff that goes into it. It can mean anything; extra men in your garage; it could mean you don't have to wait for things as long. A lot of it's out of my hand. All I know is I'll be on a very competitive bike. Will the support be suddenly ramped up? No, because I have a lot of support as it is."

Along with securing several strong finishes in 2016 and '17, Crutchlow believes his ability to evaluate development parts quickly and thoroughly lay behind HRC's reasoning to offer this deal.

"I probably won't have to do any more days than what we do now, because lately, fuck, I haven't stopped riding the motorbike. What I do in the tests, I just evaluate things.
"It's also the speed I evaluate things at. It might take someone a full day to evaluate something. It takes me five laps. Normally it's the right direction."

Asked whether he ever considered leaving Honda in recent months, the two-time MotoGP race winner recalled a prank he paid on his team boss. "Ask Lucio [Cecchinello]. On the Sunday night on Barcelona he said, 'You've got to come and sign your contract. It's time.' I sent him a message four minutes before saying, 'I'm not signing it, I'm going somewhere else.' You want to have seen his face. He was running around the garage like a chicken.

"So I had meetings still on Sunday. But I was also courteous to the others to say it wouldn't be happening. I have to think of everything and I always do. Two were available now, one I'd have had to wait for it. I had my HRC option. There were many different reasons. There were many reasons I didn't go other places. One was because I had a fantastic job [here], and I wasn't going to take a job of someone else."

By Neil Morrison

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