Cal Crutchlow has revealed he is considering a possible offer from a rival manufacturer despite possessing an HRC contract that runs until the end of 2019.

The Englishman, who sits fourth in the world championship standings, said his decision regarding future plans depends on “what happens at Honda,” and hinted he is angling to receive a bike that is identical to those used by the factory Repsol squad.

At times Crutchlow insisted he is more than content with the support he has received from HRC so far this year, but also stated, “you need to be rewarded for your efforts, [and] rewarded for where you are in the championship.”

“Contracts are worth the paper they’re written on,” he said on Thursday, “but so is the money that you can pay to get out of them. It’s as simple as that.”

Does he consider himself to be a free agent? “You always classify yourself as a free agent,” he said. “Just not in marital terms! I have to assess what’s going on at Honda. I’m very happy there and pleased with the way things are going.

“Some things have definitely taken off that could be of interest to me and I’ll see if I want to move or not. It depends on what happens at Honda. As I’ve always said this year, the support’s been better than other years.

“I’m very happy with the support but it doesn’t mean that things might not change. If you’re doing very, very well and not getting rewarded for it then you have to [consider your options].”

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Asked to expand on this, Crutchlow continued: “At the end of the day, I have to look after my own interests, and see the best options on the table. It’s absolutely no secret that I’m happy with Honda. But you also need to be rewarded for your efforts, rewarded for where you are in the championship etc.

“But I’m pleased with the plan I’ve had over the years with Honda. It’s going well. I’m pleased with the support that I get but if some other things come on the table you have to think about it, if you don’t see your potential growing in the manufacturer. It’s as simple as that.

“Everything is negotiable except your relationship. I’m happy with where I’m at. The team are doing a great job. Honda is supporting me well. It will be crunch time when they can give me what I want or what I need. Then I’ll have to make a decision.”

When Crutchlow was pressed on what he is seeking from HRC, he suggested his current spec of bike is something he is pressing to improve. In Qatar, Repsol riders Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa raced with a new carbon swingarm, an ungrade that has yet to make its way into the LCR garage.

“What’s the difference in the [factory and LCR] bikes? In the end I just need to see some things to happen,” he said. “At the end of the day, my plan is to stay with Honda and to be riding for Honda for a long, long time, or when I decide to ride in the AMA.

“They [HRC] are doing a good job. The guys that come to the track – Takeo [Yokoyama – technical manager] and [Tetsuhiro] Kuwata [HRC general manager] now, who’s the boss – they’re spot on. And [Yoshishige] Nomura [HRC president], he’s been a great supporter of me. He was the guy that signed off my contract. We have a great working relationship as well. So yeah, it looks positive.”

A number of leading premier class seats remain open for 2019, with places in Ducati, Suzuki, Aprilia and Repsol Honda still up for grabs.

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