Officially Official: Crutchlow Leaves Ducati for LCR Honda

08/02/2014 @ 9:18 pm, by David Emmett43 COMMENTS

Officially Official: Crutchlow Leaves Ducati for LCR Honda 2014 Catalan GP MotoGP Friday Scott Jones 14 635x423

It looks like Ducati will get their all-Italian line-up after all. Announced today, Cal Crutchlow will be leaving Ducati to join LCR Honda for the 2015 season.

Officially, Crutchlow had until 31st July to exercise his option to leave Ducati, but it appears that Ducati management agreed to an extension, while negotiations continued with Honda. An agreement was reached late last night, with one of the main points of contention being the payoff Crutchlow would receive from Ducati for leaving.

A week ago, Crutchlow announced that he would be staying with the Italian factory at the World Ducati Week event. Since then, however, the situation changed, with Crutchlow’s manager Bob Moore reaching agreement with Ducati management to explore further options. That led directly to the release of Crutchlow to join LCR.

Crutchlow is the latest in a long line of victims claimed by the Italian marque. Marco Melandri was the first to leave, departing early from a two-year contract of struggling miserably in 2008. Valentino Rossi sat patiently through his two seasons at Ducati, seizing the opportunity to return to Yamaha as soon as he could.

And now Cal Crutchlow, courted by Ducati for a long time in the belief that he could solve their problems, has also departed. Crutchlow has struggled all season long, both with a string of mechanical failures, and with trying to adapt his riding style to the difficult Desmosedici.

The switch to Honda is hardly unexpected. Crutchlow came very close to signing for LCR Honda last year, but only last-minute intervention by Ducati swung the deal towards the Italian factory. HRC are known to view Crutchlow favorably, and with a large British sponsor on board – CWM World, a financial services company – having a British rider makes a lot of sense.

Crutchlow will have to adapt his style once again, moving away from the smooth style he learned at Yamaha, and riding more aggressively. He should at least be able to carry some corner speed again, something he was renowned for on the Yamaha but was impossible on the Ducati.

Crutchlow’s departure makes life significantly easier for Ducati. The relationship between the two parties became strained from quite early on, with Crutchlow’s forthright manner not always fitting well inside the tightly-controlled corporate communications culture of Ducati.

The factory had also signed Andrea Iannone for 2015 with a promise of factory support. Iannone, who has had some strong results this season, was unhappy with the arrangement, but the Ducati deal was his best option. Ducati can now offer Iannone what he wants, which is a seat in the Ducati factory team alongside Andrea Dovizioso.

With Crutchlow at LCR Honda, and Iannone and Dovizioso at factory Ducati, that opens up a seat at Pramac Ducati. Eugene Laverty has been in previous talks with the Pramac squad, though the Irishman is also believed to be in the frame for a slot at Aprilia, who will be buying out the PBM team for 2015.

The Pramac team has also shown an interest in Stefan Bradl, who is making way for Crutchlow at LCR Honda. But Bradl’s most likely destination is the Forward Yamaha team, where team manager Giovanni Cuzari has two slots to fill, with the retirement of Colin Edwards, and the almost certain departure to Suzuki of Aleix Espargaro.

Alex De Angelis is to be drafted in to replace Edwards at certain select rounds this season – Brno, which comes a week after Indianapolis, and the three flyaway rounds of Motegi, Sepang and Phillip Island – and is a candidate to take the second seat at Forward.

Jack Miller’s name continues to do the rounds, though it now seems more likely he will head to Gresini, rather than LCR. Miller will take the production RCV1000R at Gresini, with Scott Redding moving up to the RC213V vacated by Alvaro Bautista, as Redding’s contract decrees.

Next year’s production Honda will be a very different kettle of fish to this year’s bike, however, with Honda supplying the engine from this year’s satellite bikes, minus the seamless gearbox.

Once the paddock reconvenes at Indianpolis this coming Thursday, even more will become clear. By then, Jorge Lorenzo should have renewed his deal with Yamaha, and several other of the open seats should be filled. The only satellite seat with a question mark hanging over it is the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha seat currently held by Bradley Smith. Who will fill that is very much up in the air.

Photo: © 2014 Scott Jones / Photo.GP – All Rights Reserved

This article was originally published on MotoMatters, and is republished here on Asphalt & Rubber with permission by the author.

Comment:

  1. Australian13 says:

    I am a little surprised that Alex De Angelis is being brought in by NGM instead of Simone Corsi. I guess De Angelis has experience but maybe Corsi has more upside.

  2. Us Brits can look forward now to Crutchlow vs Redding on fairly equal machinery. Just a shame that they won’t both be on Ohlins and Brembos. And as we’ve seen with Bradl and Bautista, even with factory Hondas, getting to 5th is still not easy and getting in among the top 4 almost impossible.

    Like Bradl, I think Crutchlow may have a front row start and a podium or two in him still. That’s got to be worth something, right?

  3. Damn says:

    No CC hasn’t!

    he was at tech3 and kept moaning for updates and upgrades to fight for podium, Yamaha gave him basicly a factory M1 but still nothing. He needed a REAL factory bike, he got 1 and again kept moaning and bashing all around him.
    Duc must be realy happy now having 2 riders that wants to drive and not talk about the bike!

  4. proudAmerican says:

    @ Damn:

    Try as he did, even Italy’s most-favored son couldn’t keep his mouth shut about how miserable he was during his two years at Ducati. Only Nicky was able to constantly choose his words wisely and maturely–always playing the polite company pilot.

    Everybody arrives at Ducati wanting to ride. They all leave worn-out and relieved to be ending their career-damaging contracts.

  5. L2C says:

    I’d like to see a surprise announcement that Stefan Bradl will take that Tech 3 seat at Yamaha! It probably won’t happen, but as a fan, I’m allowed to have the dream.

  6. Thebrain says:

    If CC does not beat “The Maniac Joe” and (especially) Dovi, he will look very silly.

  7. Thebrain says:

    CC burnt Bridge list:

    Yamaha
    Ducati
    Honda?

  8. Kev71 says:

    @ “Thebrain”

    You beat me to the punch; I was going to say the same thing.

    I am surprised that Honda is going to take on Crutchlow and the “headaches” that he brings; however, as mentioned in the article, $ and CWM World coming aboard probably have a lot to do with this deal. Wonder what the $ difference is between his Ducati contract and the LCR deal?

    CC better be ready to make a major attitude adjustment and learn to keep his mouth shut. Honda does not take kindly to their riders publicly criticizing or complaining about the bike. They have deep enough pockets to drop his ass 3 races into the season and sign someone.

    As a whole, terrible move by Honda but great for Crutchlow and Ducati; now they have 2 riders who actually want to be there and have experience and confidence in the company and program.

  9. jason says:

    @proudamerican…the problem is that every step of the way Cal has always been “the grass is always greener”. He never looks at himself for improvement. It’s always because he doesn’t have this or that. He was on one of the best bikes in the field at Tech3 yet constantly complained about needing more. He wasn’t even beating his teammate yet felt he deserved a factory ride. I understanding needing an ego in sports but did he really think that he was a better rider then Rossi? At least Rossi has the resume to legitimately think “if Stoner could win on the Ducati…….” So Cal walks away from a great non-factory ride for an openly uncompetitive factory. Why? My long winded point is that Cal will at best be “best of the rest” or in that group. He has shown time and time again he can’t look in the mirror for the answer to get to that next level. It’s always something external keeping him from winning, even when his teammates are getting better results. I called it when he went to Tech 3. I called it when he went to Ducati. And without hesitation I’ll call it again. Honda can give Cal a factory bike in the LCR team and he is still going to say he if he had a factory bike/team he’d be beating Marquez & Pedrosa. He is going to complain and complain and blame everyone but himself for not winning. Seems like he’s taken a page out of the Biaggi book of excuses

  10. Kalle says:

    Cal speaks his mind, isn’t that what we want? Or do we want all riders to be the fake-smile “for sure, next time we will push harder” after every bad race? Cal is breath of fresh air in MotoGP, and I hated that he became more politically correct after his move to Ducati. Maybe we’ll have the old Crutchlow back now, the Crutchlow who speaks his mind after every race.

  11. Adi says:

    Cal should stay ride M1, he will be better in the Yamaha, so pity when Yamaha decide to leave him

  12. proudAmerican says:

    @ Jason:

    I totally agree with your post. At this point in his career, every factory and/or team in Moto GP knows Cal’s personality. If they sign him to their team, then they know exactly what they’re getting–a very hungry rider, but one who’s going to speak his mind when he’s unhappy with the (his perception of…) product/results, etc. Don’t sign Cal and hope that he’ll keep his mouth shut—it’s not gonna happen.

    My main point was that I don’t have a problem with riders telling people their current ride is a piece of shit, if their bike is a piece of shit. If that’s how they want to live their career (burning bridges with each negative comment made), then that’s their prerogative.

  13. Damn says:

    Kalle says:
    August 3, 2014 at 9:19 AM

    Cal speaks his mind, isn’t that what we want?

    NO we dont want that ,because why do we wanna know what CC has to say if he already knew (and we all know) whats going to happen.
    It makes him dumber than dumb. doing things he knew was going to happen and still complain and telling us what we already know and he already knew.

    proudamerican… at leased Rossi didnt knew what he was up to.

  14. AHA says:

    I think some of you are forgetting the big pay cheque that comes with a factory ride – a pretty steep increase even on a top satellite team. Riders like CC have maybe one chance to cash in so they have to take it. A competitive ride comes second. That’s the way it is, isn’t it? Or let me know if I am wrong. There are plenty of people on here who know a lot more about this than me.

  15. Westward says:

    Rossi never really spoke ill of Ducati while he was there, plus he honored the full duration of his contract, trying to make the most of it.

    Cal was smart to go to Ducati, the move gave him financial stability. Cal, realizes he is not going to ever win the title, unless he is at Repsol or Movistar. It’s all about maintaining his viability as a top tier pilot. If he continues to stay with Ducati, it would damage that perception, especially since Iannone and Dovizioso are fairing so much better than him.

    Jumping ship to LCR, he probably feels it might get him closer to a Repsol seat. Pedrosa is in a fragile situation. If Cal can perform better than Bradl, HRC might just give him a shot with their factory spot. Pedrosa will have had a decade under his belt with HRC and no title to show for it. Why not give Cal a go, he has the talent, everyone concedes the Desmocidici is not up to par right now…

    The circumstances for Cal are ever changing for a man that is not getting any younger. It was the right move, besides Ducati is even happy he bailed. It’s a win win for all…

    I suspect Bradl will end up at Pramac, or at Tech3, if the the brothers Espargaro don’t fill the bill…

  16. “Yamaha gave him basicly a factory M1 but still nothing.”

    Except for the 4 podiums and finishing the season as highest non-factory rider, history completely agrees with you. D’oh!

    “CC better be ready to make a major attitude adjustment and learn to keep his mouth shut.”

    His openness and honesty is a breath of fresh air in the paddock. I tire of polished corporate-speak. That said, there’s little doubt that Honda will read him the riot act should he speak too critically of the ride.

    “Pedrosa will have had a decade under his belt with HRC and no title to show for it.”

    There’s just no way that Crutchlow will ever outperform Pedrosa. Dani is several iterations of evolution higher up the ladder than Cal. Despite the naysayers comments about Pedrosa, history (and the stats) plainly show him to be one of the most successful riders to grace the MotoGP paddock. In terms of all-time points scoring, he is 3rd. He ranks 8th in all-time race wins.

    Which, of course, is why HRC was delighted to sign him for another 2 years. MM93 and DP26 are the Dream Team.

  17. DuckDuckBang says:

    Cal was damned if he did, damned if he didn’t.

    I don’t see his results quickly overtaking Bradl’s on that bike. Tripping at the thought of him moving beyond this to a Repsol seat. Where this will take him 2016 & beyond is anyone’s guess, I’d be wagering on end of the line.

    As an enthusiast of cutthroat competition, I think Pedrosa for all his decade of bridesmaid achievements needs to vacate the top ride immediately, but Marquez saved him. A factory ideally doesn’t want to upset a star on Marquez’s trajectory and in not doing that, yet being pretty much reliable at coming 2nd or 3rd, Pedrosa remains invaluable. Every Jordan needs a Pippen.

    * That said, I do suspect you could throw Pedrosa’s seat to anyone, even someone similarly or more freakish than Marquez and he wouldn’t even blink. He would relish it and it would just mean he’d quietly evolve even further, the kid is an apex predator.

  18. Jason says:

    I don’t mind riders who speak their mind. Nor do I fault riders for pursuing a big payday. But what I do mind is hypocrites. So in Cal’s case what is more important to him winning or $$? If it was about winning (or the best chance of winning) he should have stayed at Yamaha. Not even Ducati believed they had a competitive bike. So Cal went after the $$. So he is in no position to complain. It would have been the same if he had signed with Suzuki. Again I don’t mind riders speaking their mind as long as they aren’t just talking BS. Cal complained about his bike despite the fact he was getting constantly beat by his teammate. He complained about his bike when he was getting better results then Rossi who was on the factory version of his bike. My point is (was) that if these so called “keepin real straight talking” riders are going to talk trash on their teams bike, then they also have to be accountable.

    Why has Pedrosa not won a title? Surely it’s not the bike. 2 teammates came in and won titles their first season on his same bike. Does anyone think at this point Hayden is going to win another title or even a race regardless of the bike he’s on? I’m just sick of these guys always complaining simiply because they got beat by a better rider or rider/bike combination. Cal can say or think what he wants, but he has done nothing in his career that makes me think that if he was on a Respol Honda that he would be competitive with let alone beat Marc . But he is ALWAYS complaining. Maybe he needs it for motivation, but he just ends up looking stupid to non-British fans because his results usually don’t back up his demands

  19. “Why has Pedrosa not won a title? Surely it’s not the bike.”

    Of course, it isn’t the bike. History shows very clearly that where most riders bounce, Pedrosa breaks. His career has been littered with injuries that have stymied his ability to put together a successful championship bid. When you combine his injuries with the collection of strong teammates he has been put up against, it’s easy to see why he’s the most successful rider to never have won a championship.

    His proclivity towards injury is such that his Wikipedia entry has its own Injuries section:

    Injuries
    2003 Australian motorcycle Grand Prix (125cc) Double fracture in the talus bone of the left foot and a fracture of the right ankle.
    2005 Japanese motorcycle Grand Prix (250cc) Fracture of the left humeral head that affected the supraspinal tendon.
    2006 Malaysian motorcycle Grand Prix (MotoGP) Small fracture of the small left toe and loss of cutaneous matter on the right knee. 5 stitches in that vertical cut.
    2007 Turkish motorcycle Grand Prix (MotoGP) Thoracic trauma, blow to the left gluteus and neck trauma.
    2007 Japanese motorcycle Grand Prix (MotoGP) Post-traumatic arthritis with inflammation to the small toe of the left foot.
    2008 Sepang test 2008 (MotoGP) Fracture of the second metacarpal in the right hand, with three diaphyseal fragments, which are the bones that are found in the middle part of the metacarpus.
    2008 German motorcycle Grand Prix (MotoGP) General inflammation of the left hand with hematomas in the veins of the extensor tendons. Displaced fracture of the distal phalanx of the left index finger. A sprain of the interphalangeal articulation next to the left middle finger. Fracture of the large bone of the left wrist. Sprain of the lateral external ligament of the right ankle.
    2008 Australian motorcycle Grand Prix (MotoGP) Capsular hematoma on the left knee that had to be treated two months after.
    2009 Qatar test (MotoGP) Fracture of the radius of the left arm and contusion on the left knee that required a skin graft, because the scar re-opened from an operation before Christmas.
    2009 Italian motorcycle Grand Prix (MotoGP) Incomplete fracture of the greater trochanter of the right femur. A fracture without displacement, an injury that requires absolute rest and treatment with painkillers.[31]
    2009 December (MotoGP) Underwent an operation to remove a screw from his left wrist.[32]
    2010 Japanese motorcycle Grand Prix (MotoGP) Four-fragment chip fracture of the left collarbone and a Grade 1 ankle sprain.[33]
    2011 French motorcycle Grand Prix (MotoGP) Fractured right collarbone.[34]
    2013 German motorcycle Grand Prix (MotoGP) Small fracture of left collarbone.[35]

    Even with the injuries, his worst placement in the premier class was 5th in his rookie season.

    “2 teammates came in and won titles their first season on his same bike.”

    Fair enough. Let’s look at that. Casey Stoner moved over to Honda in 2011. After the first 3 rounds, Pedrosa was 2nd in the championship behind Lorenzo. Stoner was 3rd. In the French GP, Pedrosa crashed hard and broke his right collarbone. He subsequently sat out the following three rounds and the deficit was just too much to manage. Even with 5 missing results for the season, he still finished 4th in the championship.

    As for Marquez, the only credible reply to expecting Pedrosa to have beaten him in his rookie season is, “Are you kidding?”

  20. Jw says:

    Bradl has 56 points mid season. I bet CC will not have over 56 points next year same time on the LCR Honda.

    CC exudes bad energy

  21. Jw says:

    Ducati:
    “Hey Cal don’t let the door hit ya on your way out the door”

  22. Westward says:

    Right now the Honda RC213V is the best bike on the grid. The current Bridgestone tyres favour their engineering. Pedrosa on another bike might not be same pilot he is now. He was good with Michelin’s, but not great, then too he was also not so experienced in the premiere class at the time.

    Cal could potentially be a better match on the RC213V or not, and with the new Michelin’s its could be a game changer. With Pedrosa HRC knows what they have and what their not getting. Sure he is consistent, but also, no other pilot has been with the same crew, manufacturer, and team as long as Pedrosa has.

    Let’s be honest, there was usually four bikes capable of winning the title in MotoGP, now this season, there are only two. If Rossi were on a Honda, and we know it will never happen, Pedrosa would not be in second position which he barely holds now. Even Lorenzo would best Pedrosa on the RC213V. If the top four were on Yamaha M1’s, I seriously doubt the championship standings would be in the same order they are now…

  23. smiler says:

    Cannot really see the logic of this, other than pressure from Ducati and Ianonne.

    The LCR Honda is a satelite bike. So clearly and as always Hinda will ensure it is not as fast or advanced as the factory bikes.
    The other factories have more money to develop their bikes and that is why Yamahaha are faster than LCR.
    Suzuki, KTM and Aprilia are on their way back with factory backed efforts. Though there is a good chance they will not all be successful, the fact that three new manufactuerers are coming into MotoGP puts more pressure on satelite bikes especially as the rules weill reduce complexity and the cost to get to the front (if they work)
    Clearly changers are gathering pace at Ducati. New personnel, process, changes to the GP14 and a significant upgrade after the summer with a new bike in 2015. Likely the moaners will say Ducati have not been competitive since 08, however Audi are and with them they bring expertise, engineering capacity and money.
    Waiting a year to see the new bike, work his contract, see how the new bikes are as well as the increased number of contracts available next year would have seemed the logical position to take.
    I think he can kiss any multiple podiums good bye.
    Stoner managed 8th on the LCR, Bradl 6th, weith less competition and De Puniet about the same. Cal is certainly not better than one and no better than the other 2 and Hinda will not be offering him a factory ride anytime soon. Too many Spanish and younger riders queueing up.

  24. Jason says:

    @Trane Francks you missed my point and I know full well Pedrosa’s history of injuries. But that really doesn’t matter, the simple fact is he hasn’t won a title when his new teammates have. Could have would have should haves don’t really matter. “If he hadn’t been injuried, etc……” the fact is that he got injured. Well if Xaus was smaller he would have……” . I wasn’t trying to knock Pedrosa to his credit he just keeps going about his business and raises his level when the competition does. And almost as important more often then not beats the people he is supposed to beat and is generally right up front with those he’s supposed to be on the same level with (talent and/or equipment wise).

    But with Cal , he always complaining about deserving this or that when he isn’t even on pace with his teammate. Cal thinks he’s on the level of the “Aliens” then he should at the least be getting the results that Dovi is getting. But he didn’t do it at Yamaha and he didn’t do it at Ducati. And I doubt he’ll do it at LCR. He’s going to blame the equipment because he isn’t winning and will quickly start saying if he were on a repsol bike, etc…… Take it or leave that is what you get with Cal “if I had….” Crutchlow.

  25. L2C says:

    An A & R factoid: Westward trolls Dani Pedrosa the way Smiler trolls Spain and Spanish riders.

    Forearmed with this knowledge, you can bat either of them back to the stone ages where they belong. That is to say, irrelevance.

  26. Frank says:

    Great discussion on here. I think this is the best possible scenario for Cal. I think it will give him a second chance that he doesn’t deserve. He took the paycheck fully aware that the Duc was garbage. Granted, the tech issues and mechanical failures have felt a bit like Ben Spies’ type of luck – but cmon Cal… This is what everyone said was going happen. Why would Ducati sign Crutchlow knowing that he would run his mouth at the state of the bike? they asked. Why would Cal leave a competitive ride for a bike he knew would struggle? For the paycheck, to set his family with the little bit of career he had left. Everything we assumed would happen, happened. And now Cal gets a buyout and a competitive ride for next year even after his horrible results and terrible PR. I was rooting for Cal last year in the few races that he actually did well but he has worn on me this year. I want to give him the benefit of the doubt but I really don’t think this was a good move at all for LCR. That seat should go to someone that has a shot at the Repsol seat after 2016. It very well may turn out that even then, two years from now – there is no better rider available than Dani. But Cal has no upside for HRC. No one is looking at Rabat for some reason… (it must be known in the paddock and I haven’t seen it yet). It’s too early for Vinales and Miller (who HRC may snatch up on a proddie racer next year) but I still don’t see how Cal is the right move. Hopefully he will prove me wrong, but I see Bradl who has also suffered his fair share of bad luck this season, as a better immediate option for next year. Hell, bring Dovi back – he beats Cal like it’s his job. Oh wait… that’s because it is his job.

    To be cynical – Cal’s freak accident at Mugello that took Bradl out may have been just enough for HRC to completely lose all faith in Bradl. Funny how that worked out for the rider responsible for the bizarre crash…

  27. HoldOnThere says:

    Lots of hyperventilating about Crutchlow here, plenty of it unwarranted. First things first, he wasn’t going to get a factory Yamaha ride and his Tech 3 spot was being given to Pol Espargaro. Bradley Smith was under contract. So Crutchlow’s options were limited. Furthermore, Crutchlow at the time was a rider on the make. He was threatening pole positions and podium spots. Naturally, as a satellite rider, he’s thinking “If only I had a little more…” Would a factory seamless transmission have helped him? I think yes. He got a factory frame and it didn’t work at all for him. The weight distribution was wrong. You don’t know until you try. I don’t think it’s unreasonable for someone in that position to be thinking that if development was focused on their input, they would have stronger results. But he can’t usurp Rossi. So when he realizes that he’s out at Tech 3 and a factory Yamaha isn’t happening, he tries for the LCR Honda. LCR won’t drop Bradl, so he goes to Ducati. He should be crucified for this? I think it’s unfair to look at the move as purely mercenary. It was his only shot at a factory ride and, hopefully, a chance to develop a competitive bike. Keep in mind that he negotiated an out to the two-year contract after one year. Facts: Dovi sucked his first year at Ducati, Ianonne sucked his first year at Ducati, Rossi sucked both years at Ducati. And all of them had bikes that finished races. If any of us were doing our jobs at the highest possible level, trying to turn something unsuccessful around, and were being cut down at the knees by problems like Crutchlow’s mechanicals, you’d better believe we would be livid. Riding for Ducati over the past few years has meant riding a bike that turns for sh*t but runs. Crutchlow has been riding a bike that turns for sh*t and stalls out. No way for him to have seen that coming. I think he’s had at least 3 mechanical DNFs this year. It’s GP motorcycle racing – a PBM rider should be pissed about that.

    It’s interesting how Crutchlow has left Ducati and I think that there could very well be some merit to the idea that he told Ducati he was staying so that they would have to buy him out of his contract. Then again, one wonders whether he had to buy his way into the contract with LCR? Regardless, this is a rider who was providing interesting results recently, has a sense of humor, and doesn’t mind letting his ambition to perform show. I’ll take that over Bradl looking bewildered every weekend.

  28. Frank says:

    @ HoldOnThere

    I don’t disagree with you at all. That’s why I started by saying this is a great scenario for Cal. I also mentioned his freakishly bad string of DNFs due to the bike and not his riding. What I’m taking issue with is how he has worn on many in the paddock due to his bickering, knowing full well the entire time what he could expect at Ducati. He was vocal in 2013 with his displeasure on the M1, which by the way- we need to put his best results into perspective. They were all the races in which Jorge and Dani were either out of competition completely or recovering from injury. He finished 2013 inconsistently talking about how he needed the bike with the old fuel tank to be competitive, even though they had given him the factory frame upgrade to see what he could do. It did start to seem like it was always going to be ‘something.’ That is what I think the recurring sentiment seems to be from what I’ve read. 2013 was a career year for Cal, for sure but the people that were saying ‘Alien status’ were giving him way more credit after a few podiums than was due.

    Looking at what he has done with Dovi as his teammate would put things into perspective – Dovi has beaten him handily each time they have raced on the same bike. Dovi won a single GP on the Repsol Honda and is a very fast rider. He is a consistent professional and a very good development rider. Last year he was also vocal and critical of the Ducati’s lack of performance just as Cal is this year, but he always carried himself professionally and put things into perspective. I like Cal’s off-the-cuff approach to the media. Speak your mind all day- I prefer it. But could it be that many of the same Crutchlow fans that applaud his ‘mouth’ berated Casey Stoner for also speaking his mind? Bottom line- he just isn’t as good as people want him to be. He has been given a very fortunate chance to prove me and all of the other non-believers wrong. I hope he takes it by the horns and makes me eat my words hard. Somehow- I just don’t see that happening. There are many better riders than Cal on the grid. I agree with L2C- Bradl is one of them.

  29. CLB says:

    Some of you don’t like anyone is my honest opinion. I mean CC is definitely not your play by the rules, corporate speak kind of guy, but that’s just him. I’m glad not all of them do it, but it is nice when he or Colin tell it like it is… even the robot’s get a laugh out of it.

    Light up a bit folks… CC is getting paid to ride, open mouth or not, because he deserves it. Ask Herve at Tech 3 about Cal. He’ll tell you different than anything mentioned here and those results at Tech 3 got him to the Factory DUC and now those results are taking him to LCR… Pure and simple. If he doesn’t at least pull some Tech 3 type numbers now… then he’ll probably be 3rd tier soon, but in my opinion; he gives a full 100% every time I see him.

  30. Nerve says:

    CC makes technical mistakes.
    All the time.
    Achieving a Factory ride for him is the apogee of his carreer, not winning races.
    He was successfull, now let him return tot anonimity in peace.

  31. Jason says:

    @HoldOnThere your statement isn’t current. The reason Cal “didn’t have a ride” at Tech 3 is because of Cal. He was offered a two year deal but he insisted on a 1yr deal. Doesn’t matter why the simple fact is that he and his management got what they wanted and Tech 3 moved on. So it’s his fault and no one else’s if he didn’t have a Tech 3 ride.

    No on expected Cal to set the world on fire with Ducati either. My only issue with Cal is his mouth. That’s it. People hated Stoner, but at least Stoner spoke his mind winning AND losing. And even when he did’t have a competitive bike he still overrode it to get results that the bike probably didn’t deserve.

    I am not questioning Cal’s talent as he and all the MotoGP guys are better riders then me. But his constant complaining and feeling of entitlement gets on my nerves. He is not the first and definitely not the last, but he is the current one doing it the most. There is a reason why Marquez and Pedrosa, Lorenzo, etc….. got factory rides immediately. Being Spanish may have helped but their results also did more then their passports. Spies got his ride because his results in AMA & SBK and first year in MotoGP suggested he was or could be at that level. Cal doesn’t have those types of results or resumes. So he should stop complaining and just ride the bikes. He had a great year last year but complained all year long for rides that weren’t available. Who was Yamaha or Honda going to drop because Cal was so much better than?

  32. Kev71 says:

    I can’t believe I’m going to type this but I agree with you “Smiler,” at least until the “Too many Spanish…” line. You almost made it through a whole post without bringing it up!

    @Jason… I too tire of CC’s complaining and “biting the hand that feeds him.” LCR giving him a ride is GREAT for Cal and this is probably his last shot at scoring some podiums. Some of you say that his “openness” and “attitude” are refreshing; maybe to you but not to the teams that are paying him. It’s ok to criticize the bike and suggest changes Cal, just don’t do it in The Press!

  33. “He finished 2013 inconsistently talking about how he needed the bike with the old fuel tank to be competitive”

    Meanwhile, Rossi had very similar statements about the full factory M1 with regard to how the bike was such a struggle at the beginning of races. Honestly, there’s a lot of selective reasoning and revisionist history when it comes to evaluating certain riders. The angst expressed against Pedrosa and Crutchlow boggles the imagination.

    Marco Melandri struggled with the Ducati and requested changes. Ducati signed him up for sports psychology counselling. Rossi spent 2 seasons working to resolve his POS situation and failed. Utterly. Ragging on Crutchlow because he’s disillusioned beyond what he expected it to be fails any test of empathy.

    To reiterate: Cal’s 2013 Tech3 season was STELLAR. Nothing short, nothing less. He had 4 podiums and 2 poles. He did whatever he could to pressure Yamaha to step up their game and give a non-factory rider a factory’s chance at a win. You guys call it whining, I call it strategy. He’s not some dummy, you know. He finished out 2013 as top non-factory rider.

    I consider that his announcing his intention to stay was a very deft business move to get him bought out. There’s a difference between a rider taking their option to leave and the factory being the one asking for a divorce. The more I think about it, the more clever I realize it was. He’s making ALL the right moves here. Had Ducati been able to do something substantial with the GP14, he may have, in fact, stayed and been a happy camper. Alas, his career is at a delicate place and it’s important for him to represent himself in 2015 on the way to Suzuki, KTM and Aprilia making their paddock presence felt in coming seasons. He needs to show what he can do now to ensure teams with competitive packages know who he is when they’re ready to hire. Riding the Ducati is historically not conducive to career building.

    “It’s ok to criticize the bike and suggest changes Cal, just don’t do it in The Press!”

    That’s called strategic leveraging, Kev. Bradl did exactly the same thing at LCR with regard to running Brembo instead of Nissin. Despite Nissin being the official brake supplier for the LCR team, Bradl has been running Brembo for quite some time now.

    “Spies got his ride because his results in AMA & SBK and first year in MotoGP suggested he was or could be at that level. Cal doesn’t have those types of results or resumes.”

    I would argue that the competition in World Supersport eclipses that of AMA, so Cal’s resume certainly isn’t blank. (He was WSS 2009 champion.) His 2010 WSBK season maybe wasn’t as strong as it could be, but he still did manage two wins in his rookie (and only) season. Any rookie who steps up and wins is obviously going places. I certainly wouldn’t argue about the calibre of Spies’ resume, though; that guy rocked AMA and WSBK before entering MotoGP. Spies’ ultimate retirement was a shock and disappointment. Spies had the potential to achieve more, I think. Alas, we’ll never know.

    @HoldOnThere: Nice commentary. Well and truly stated.

  34. Kev72 says:

    @Trane Francks

    “That’s called strategic leveraging…”

    You mean maximizing the positive aspects while minimizing the negative aspects? I understand that; however, the fact that CC does it IN PUBLIC with everyone to hear does not sit well with the company paying him to do his job.

    CC is being paid millions of dollars to race and develop the Ducati (A well know P.O.S.). Anyone who watches MotoGP knows this. Cal was so determined to be a “factory rider” that the $ was more important than winning. I don’t blame the guy for taking the $, just don’t publicly complain when the P.O.S. lives up to its reputation and you can’t ride it.

    “Strategic Leveraging,” looks like Ducati is employing this very principle in getting rid of Crutchlow. Who is the real winner in this? Looks like Ducati getting rid of a cancer in the paddock and CC getting the chance to show what he can do on the Honda.

    Speaking of Honda, they are the real losers in this deal!

  35. crshnbrn says:

    It looks like the only positive thing that has come from CC’s time at Ducati is that he has learned to talk using his hands.

  36. L2C says:

    I honestly cannot fathom why LCR Honda chose Crutchlow over Bradl. Oh wait! -yes I can. Money! CWM FX money, to be exact. THAT’S the strategic leverage that Crutchlow had in his back pocket that he clobbered Ducati and LCR with!!

    Notice that in all recent silly season reports today the former LCR Honda is now called CWM-LCR Honda. That’s what Crutchlow had going for him. Hype. How he managed that has EVERYTHING to do with his nationality and nothing to do with his performance at Ducati this year.

    Bradl not Honda is the casualty in all of this. At Sachsenring this year, Bradl spoke about how motorcycle racing lacks in popularity where he is from. That may also mean that local/regional sponsorship opportunities in Germany are hard to come by, but it cannot be denied that Crutchlow brought more money to the table than Bradl did. That was the deciding factor. It was the deciding factor even after the stellar job of fundraising that Lucio Ceccinello has already done for LCR, with Bradl’s talents as the team’s major selling point.

    In my opinion, LCR dropped the ball with Bradl’s strategy at Sachsenring. They should have gone all in on the dry strategy or the wet strategy, not a losing combination of both at the same time. A good result in that race would have surely helped Bradl keep his seat for at least another year.

    Ifs and buts, okay, but Crutchlow’s fortunes are entirely due to CWM FX funding him rather than anything extra that Honda did to lure him. I doubt Honda did anything extra at all because LCR is already one of the most well-funded private teams, so Crutchlow bringing along with him a title sponsor was well more than what Bradl could offer, and that’s what made the difference.

  37. L2C says:

    For those that don’t know, CWM FX is financial company that’s based in London, England. The company also goes by the name CWM World.

  38. “They should have gone all in on the dry strategy or the wet strategy, not a losing combination of both at the same time.”

    Come now. You know damn well that his predicament wasn’t planned. They were trying to adjust his front end on the grid and dropped a spacer that doomed the guy to run a wet setup on his front end because they ran out of time to change the bike. They had every intention of going with a fully dry setup and they gambled on being able to change the setup on the grid instead of having to start from pit lane like nearly everybody else. Somebody was clumsy and wound up ruining Bradl’s race.

    Shame, too. I thought he was heading for his first victory!

  39. Jared says:

    Let’s face it; As a typical rule and how the history has proven, a Moto GP rider tends to show his talents within a very short period of time from the get go as to whether he will be a winner, in the top five or part of the rest of the flock. The rest is just a theoretical joke! Of course, there are always exceptions where a top rider jumps ship and gets into unknown water as Rossi did. Generally the top riders are very apparent from the very start of their career! I personally don’t believe that CC can ever achieve the top position!! Just my two pennies! One either has it or not!! Period…..

  40. @crshnbrn: “It looks like the only positive thing that has come from CC’s time at Ducati is that he has learned to talk using his hands.”

    I just caught that one in my inbox. Thanks for the giggle!

  41. L2C says:

    Come now. You know damn well that his predicament wasn’t planned. They were trying to adjust his front end on the grid and dropped a spacer that doomed the guy…

    That’s what I’m talking about. The predicament wasn’t planned, but the team planned to hook him up for a dry race on the grid when he was originally set up for a wet race. In other words, if the blah blah blah and the blah blah blah had blah blah blah, Bradl would have been on the podium. But the blah blah blah didn’t go as planned, so the resulting blah blah blah left him going backwards from the start.

    We know how critically sensitive it is for teams to do as little as possible after their riders line up on the grid. At Misano 2012, Karel Abrahams’ SNAFU set off a cascade of events that led to Dani Pedrosa’s tire warmer getting stuck to his brakes on the restart, which led to him losing pole position and having to start from the back of the grid, which led to him getting drubbed into the dirt by Hector Barbera, which ultimately led to him losing the title fight to Jorge Lorenzo.

    Anyway, as inspired as the decision was to set up Bradl’s bike on the grid, the blame for the resulting chaos clearly lies with his team. Butterfly effect and all that. ;-)

  42. L2C says:

    The dropped spacer doomed the guy.

    I have to say, I really like that sentence. :-)

  43. “Anyway, as inspired as the decision was to set up Bradl’s bike on the grid, the blame for the resulting chaos clearly lies with his team. Butterfly effect and all that.”

    I’d hate to have been the mechanic responsible for being all ham-fisted and gutting Bradl’s race with a filet knife before the lights even went out. I bet the post-race debrief was full of awkward moments. It was one of those woulda/coulda been a stroke of genius moments. Alas, he finished out of the points!