CLICK HERE to read the full exclusive interview with Herve Poncharal.

Monster Yamaha Tech 3 boss Herve Poncharal is currently enjoining a dream MotoGP season with rookies Johann Zarco and Jonas Folger.

But he continues to have fond memories of former rider Cal Crutchlow, despite some heated moments during their first season together!

Crutchlow spent three years in MotoGP with Tech 3, overcoming a difficult debut campaign to claim six podiums, two pole positions and fifth in the world championship before moving to Ducati and later LCR Honda, where he has won two races.

The Englishman recently spoke of how, during his rookie 2011 season, he told Poncharal that he wanted to return to World Superbike. asked Poncharal for his memories of the discussion...

"Cal is somebody - although sometimes I think he is completely crazy - I will always respect and like a lot. Maybe I can say I love him! Because he is such a character. He loves to create polemics, he has a sense of humour, he has big balls and he is everything a motorcycle racer should be," began Poncharal.

"Cal was very fast but crashing all the time in his first year. I remember a conversation at Laguna Seca, in his motorhome, at the last race before the summer break. I told him, 'Cal, you can't carry on like this. You are 15th in the world championship and a lot better than these guys you are behind. But you do not have the consistency because you crash too much'.

"He said, 'If you don't like me, sack me!' And we argued back and forth. I didn't want to get into a fight with Cal - especially because he is much stronger than me! - but I didn't back down.

"Everybody is always trying to support their rider, but your rider is like your child, especially a rookie, and sometimes you have to give them a wake-up call. You don't shout or criticise because you don't like them; it's because you want to help them and educate them.

"Although Cal basically told me to f**k off! [laughs], I think when I left he must have thought about it - because Cal is anything but stupid, he's clever - and afterwards he said, 'thank-you Herve, because you faced me'.

"But Cal from the very first day was fast. His problem was not the speed, it was crashing too much. Every time he was pushing he was crashing, maybe due to the different tyres in MotoGP, or because the MotoGP bike is more rigid than the production-based bike.

"At some stage that year he did say he was thinking of going back to Superbike.

"But because Cal is strong and a special guy. Has a never-give-up attitude, always. And is very proud. I don't think he would ever have done it. That would have been like 'I've failed, I'm not good enough to be here'. And his dream was always to be in MotoGP and he was sure he could be fast in MotoGP.

"So I don't think he would ever have gone back to Superbike and the whole MotoGP world is lucky that he decided to stick to MotoGP and became so successful, because we certainly have an interesting character!"

CLICK HERE to read the full exclusive interview with Herve Poncharal...

By Peter McLaren

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