Cal Crutchlow refused to be drawn on speculation regarding the seat currently available in the Repsol Honda garage, and instead praised the talents of Jorge Lorenzo, describing his talent and concentration as “something very special.”

The Englishman insisted he “didn’t care” which rider will get promoted to replace the five-time world champion as Marc Marquez’s team-mate, reminding onlookers “I already have a contract – I’m not the one looking for a job.”

“I don’t know,” said Crutchlow when asked if Lorenzo’s decision would affect his 2020 plans. “At the end of the day this is the first I’ve heard of it as well, same as what all you guys did. Actually, I knew when I landed which was 2:21 into Valencia airport and I got asked to come to the press conference.

“That’s not the first question, it’s not the first thought. I think the first thought should be that it’s a sad day for our sport. A five-time world champion like Jorge and a guy that on his day a lot of people wouldn’t even be in the same race as. And sometimes when you are on the podium, you wouldn’t in the same race as. He’s been a great champion and a professional.

“I know his character is a little bit different than everybody else’s. Even the riders see that, but you can’t take away from him what he’s done on the track and it’s a lot more than most in this whole paddock.

“We could say it was a shock he stopped, or we could say it wasn’t. As I just said to the journalist there, a lot of this was built up by the journalist before it even started. I think that he would’ve come good on the Honda. I don’t know when, but he knows how to ride a motorcycle. I still get to see his data now and the way he brakes, the way he does things, is incredible.

“The way he scrubs off speed. He looks like he doesn’t brake late at all, but he actually brakes very, very late. It’s just how well he can decelerate the bike.

“Me and Colin [Edwards] used to laugh all the time, we used to take him out of the equation [at Yamaha]. It’s a little bit like Marc at Honda. When we were at Yamaha, if you looked at his settings on the bike, everybody that rode it, it was never going work. But he always rode it like that week in and week out. And he didn’t really change much. He just rode this bike that was the same wheelbase.

“How he rides was really on the rear wheel, and he didn’t really care so much about the front. It looks like he rides a lot on the front, but he rear wheel steers a lot, not by sliding but the way he puts his body and stuff like that.

“It was difficult to learn from him. And also because he’s this guy, in the garage, maybe not the most technically demanding guy in the world. He just rides the bike.

“And that was probably the most scary thing, when he closes his visor he was like a machine. I remember looking even this year, he did a 10-lap run somewhere and his sector was a 1m 31.0, he did nine of them in a row. To do that is ridiculous, honestly.

“I remember at Yamaha some of things he was doing then, how you can stay on this level of concentration and speed, is something very special.”

On his own situation, Crutchlow added, “I already have a contract. I’m not the one looking for a job. But that stipulation to that contract is not going to be discussed with you.

“At the end of the day, I’m very happy to be riding for Honda. The bike, next year I’m looking forward to. I think as I’ve told you, I think they did a good job this year with the engine of the bike.

“We maybe struggled in some other areas but at the end of the day, the goal this year was to gain more power and we definitely gained more power. Next year if we can make the bike more power and a little bit easier to ride, or a managed situation.

“I will tell you this one thing, it’s the least amount I’ve crashed in my MotoGP career this year. Maybe the front end of the bike is not too bad because I stayed up.”

 

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