A few days ago, HRC Honda announced the renewal of Cal Crutchlow’s contract. So, the British driver will be in Lucio Cecchinello’s team for two more seasons. We do not know anchor if Cal will increase his salary of 1.8 million euros. So, it will continue to be a successful partnership. Since joining the team in 2015, Cal Crutchlow has won two races and has risen to the podium four times (two-second places and two-thirds).
“We are happy to continue working for another two seasons with the LCR team and Cal. We appreciate their work. So, we decided to confirm this collaboration, besides putting Cal directly under contract with HRC. We wish them the best in this season and in the near future.”
“Cal is undoubtedly one of the most competitive and talented drivers in MotoGP. Thanks to HRC support we will be able to work with him for another two years. We are happy. Cal brought us the first victory in MotoGP and other important achievements. I want to thank all the people who continue to engage in this project. Especially HRC.”
“I’m really happy to confirm that I will race for HRC with the LCR team for the next two seasons. We have worked hard in these last three seasons together. So, I think we can get some great results together. I want to thank HRC for the support they have offered to me and the team. I will continue to make the most of this project.”
However, Cal Crutchlow said that he is “sick” of being the LCR MotoGP team’s only rider. So, he would an expansion of the Honda satellite team for 2018. Because LCR has been a one-bike operation in MotoGP. In 2015, there was even Jack Miller in 2015, but now Crutchlow is alone.
Japanese rider Takaaki Nakagami could ride with Crutchlow at LCR on a second bike next season. Crutchlow said that was a situation he would prefer for 2018, having grown tired of carrying sole responsibility for the team’s performance on his shoulders. So, he wants a team-mate next year. Because it puts the emphasis of the whole weekend on him. So, for Cal, it’s better that the team is standing for two riders. It could create more stress to prepare, but he thinks it’s better. Honda has already made it clear that if the Japanese will be among the top three at the end of the Moto2 World Championship, it will be promoted in MotoGP.
“The contract will not drastically change our relationship with Honda or the work system”
Recently Lucio Cecchinello has released an interesting interview with Crash.net. Firstly, he was asked whether the fact that Cal Crutchlow has a contract from HRC can change things. “Honestly, we have always had good support from Hona HRC. Cal has always been involved in the development and experimentation of the bike. He gives us his opinion on how to improve it. The contract will not drastically change our relationship with Honda or the work system.”
The renewal before the Summer Break
It seems that to renew the English pilot he explicitly wanted the contract from HRC. “It was his request. But I do not think she really was looking for alternatives.” Cecchinello adds. “But he has received proposals. At the end of last year, we had already started discussing the renewal, it was our goal to sign before the summer break.”
“Honda started listening to us a bit more”
Certainly, Crutchlow’s performance in 2016, with the two victories and the two podiums, have been decisive. “Yes, but we have always believed in him. In 2015, the first year together, he made the podium in the third race in Argentina. Then, it was difficult. Because Honda focused on the bike following Marquez’s instructions. So, it is not necessarily the ideal one for Pedrosa and Cal. With all respect for Marc, who is a special pilot. In 2016, Honda started listening to us a bit more, even though it was difficult at first.”
Not only Marc
Two years ago, Honda was very focused on Marc Marquez. But now also listen to the needs of other riders. “They are making an amazing effort. They do not just listen to Marquez’s wishes. But Dani and Cal are listening even more. We have different chassis specifications and different aerodynamic packages based on Cal’s driving style. Honda wants to give the best opportunities to all pilots, also because the competition is strong.”
Dorna would have forced Suzuki, Aprilia and KTM to create a second team. So, crash.net asked to Cecchinello if he had thought of a different partnership than that with Honda. “We had contacts in the first part of 2016. We had it with Suzuki, but there was no negotiation. However, I had informed Honda. Then, we discussed the long-term cooperation potential and we agreed to it until 2019. I had also got involved with Aprilia. But I refused that opportunity.”
The team could have a second bike very soon
“We are still considering this option. The deadline is for Brno. There are two possibilities. One is to find a sponsor who supports me. Because I would hire a competitive Moto2 driver. I would like an Italian. The second is to find a driver supported by the manufacturer or a company or some institute. It is no secret that HRC supports Nakagami. But he is not currently among the top three in Moto2.” Lucio Cecchinello concludes.
HRC Honda is his destiny
Crutchlow has admitted to having several bids on the table. Such as that of Aprilia, who is already looking for a substitute for Alex Lowes. But Cal Crutchlow seems destined to be the diamond tip of the HCR Honda team for many years. Good luck Cal!