MotoGP: Cal Crutchlow Leaving Ducati for LCR Honda?

08/01/2014 @ 4:04 pm, by Jensen Beeler23 COMMENTS

MotoGP: Cal Crutchlow Leaving Ducati for LCR Honda? Saturday Sachsenring MotoGP German GP Tony Goldsmith 10 635x422

This year’s silly season may have been a bit disappointing, at least when you consider that many of the top riders had contracts up for renewal this year.

Instead, we saw Valentino Rossi, Marc Marquez, and Dani Pedrosa all stay-put with their current manufacturers, and likely we will add Jorge Lorenzo to that list during the Indianapolis GP, as the Spaniard is said to be close to a one-year contract with Yamaha Racing.

One of the bigger question marks though has been Cal Crutchlow, as the Briton has made no secret about his displeasure with the Desmosedici GP14. Finding the paddock gossip about the Ducati to be true, Crutchlow currently faces a steep learning curve to bring his performance on the GP14 in-line with Andrea Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone, both of whom already have a season on the Desmosedici under their belts.

With an option to leave Ducati Corse midway through his two-year contract, rumors about Crutchlow’s departure have been escalating, despite Ducati’s announcement at World Ducati Week 2014 that Crutchlow would remain with the team. Now, the Italian press tipping him to leave for a seat at LCR Honda.

Expected to take Stefan Bradl’s seat, who in turn would be headed to NGM Forward, Crutchlow would have factory-supported machinery, inside Lucio Cecchinello’s satellite Honda team.

By vacating the Ducati Corse team, Crutchlow’s absence would allow Andrea Iannone to move up into the factory squad, and thus make room for the Pramac Ducati team to bring in fresh meat for the Desmosedici. Time will tell who that new rider could be, and before that we must see if these rumors prove to be true.

With this much smoke there, surely there is some fire, and given how competitive the Honda RC213V has been this season, we can easily see Crutchlow looking at the neighbors’s lawn with envied saturation.

Source: Bike Sport News & Motorciclismo.it; Photo: © 2014 Tony Goldsmith / TGF Photos – All Rights Reserved

Comment:

  1. L2C says:

    Jeremy McWilliams posed a vote about this on Twitter today. RT for Ducati, Favorite for LCR. LCR handily won. I thought that was some pretty wicked humor on his part, because of course LCR was the clear favorite from the get-go! I’m still laughing about it. :-)

    Choices, we could help you to decide with a twitter poll @calcrutchlow RT for Cal to stay at Ducati Fav for a move to LCR Honda— Jeremy McWilliams (@McWill99) August 1, 2014

  2. L2C says:

    And there was no way to tell if people favorited the tweet because they thought it was hella funny, or if they were actually voting for Cal to make the move to LCR! Ha ha!!

  3. Jw says:

    Why would LCR do such a thing?

  4. L2C says:

    It wouldn’t make sense to me either, Jw.

  5. Jw says:

    JL to Ducati?

  6. crshnbrn says:

    @Jw

    If JL’s Yamaha YZR-M1 fitted with the 2014 Bridgestone tyres doesn’t suit his riding style, he would be foolish to go to Ducati.

  7. Frank says:

    This move would just make the situation easier for Ducati to proceed as they’d hoped all along. They really want Dovi and Iannone on the factory squad. Done. And then Yonny could get more support through Pramac. And yeah… I hate to say it, and Cal fans will not like it, but I don’t see him as the best option for LCR. It would be good for Cal, because as some have mentioned, if he continues on Ducati for another year with the same results no one will sign him for 2016. This way, he could lock down a 2 year deal having accomplished his first goal – a big pay check year on the Duc. I look forward to the end of this silly season.

  8. Motogpdr says:

    Well if this is true I hope poor old Lucio finds additional sponsorship funding because this bloke is going to destroy a lot if equipment just like he did at tech 3 then yamaha. I just don’t see the attraction …..seems to me like a guy who crashes way way too much and has mediocre results.

  9. article dan says:

    Why does this not make sense? Ducati would prefer iannone in the factory squad, Lucio really wants cal, cal gets a nice factory supported Honda. Everyone’s a winner apart frm bradl.

  10. L2C says:

    “…Lucio really wants cal…”

    Where did you hear that?

  11. Jw says:

    I JUST READ ON MCN THAT CAL IS LEAVING DUCATI

  12. Jw says:

    From MCN:
    Only a week after confirming at World Ducati Week and in an exclusive interview to MCN that he would remain with Ducati for 2014, the Italian manufacturer has dramatically confirmed that they will part ways with Crutchlow for the 2015 season.

    The move is widely expected to leave Crutchlow free to ride the semi-factory Honda at LCR vacated by Stefan Bradl, who is expected in turn to move to Forward Yamaha.

    Ducati also confirmed that Andrea Iannone will move from the satellite Pramac team to take a full factory ride, joining Andrea Dovizioso.

  13. L2C says:

    Repost:

    @ Jw

    LCR is not a factory. Why would Cal want to go there? What value is there at LCR for Cal since it would be the same situation that he had at Monster Tech three Yamaha. LCR is not a factory team.

    Seriously, LCR should keep Bradl over Crutchlow. Bradl is a much better and more consistent rider. Why change what you know if it doesn’t improve the team’s performance?

    If it’s between Bradl and Crutchlow, the only one that should be headed for Forward is Crutchlow. Regardless of the circumstances, Bradl has dominated Crutchlow this season. And he has done it for a satellite team, whereas Crutchlow has floundered at the factory all-you-can-eat bar.

    Cal has had his shot. He couldn’t make it work on the track or in the boardroom, in the press or in the paddock. Why would LCR and Honda want to risk a nightmare like that?

  14. ircsmith says:

    2012
    7 Cal CRUTCHLOW Yamaha GBR 151
    8 Stefan BRADL Honda GER 135

    2013
    5 Cal CRUTCHLOW Yamaha GBR 188
    7 Stefan BRADL Honda GER 156

    Even though Bradl is funny, for a German, he is still not as colorful as Crutchlow. not as marketable. dont get me wrong I like Bradl and being a half German household we love it when he does well. but Crutchlow is the better choice.

    everyone who has pitched a leg over the Ducati since the single tire rule has floundered. so this year is not a proper gauge of Crutchlow’s talent. I have high confidence in Dall’lgna to get the Ducati working far better by this time next year so again I feel Cruchlow is making the wrong choice. had he stayed at Tech3 he would be in 4th to 7th place right now. again in front of Bradl. Cal is going to do fantastic on the LCR!

  15. TheBrain says:

    Burned bridge with Yamaha

    Burning the bridge (money chasing antics) with Ducati

    Will the Honda bridge be next?

  16. Swebb says:

    I read some of the comments and wonder if anybody ever understands what they are watching!

    As a life long follower of bike racing it is easy to see that:

    1) The Ducati is about as reliable as a bridge made of lego – how many problems this year!!! Seriously, its a factory team, you would never believe it.
    2) From the track and on board footage from bikes behind it is obvious Crutchlow is riding the wheels off the bike just to keep it upright.

    Several riders have said he is having to save the bike on his knee the whole time and it’s obvious something is wrong with the bike. Dovi had the same problem the first year and is now working around the issue.

    I think the LCR move is a good one, its a good bike and will let him race rather than worry about the bike lunching him in to the atmosphere.

    We know he is a good rider, previous history shows it. He has been on an un-reliable bike, lost confidence and I think he is better off out of there.

  17. n/a says:

    Can’t wait to hear what his excuse will be when he has the third best bike in MotoGP and still does nothing with it!

  18. L2C says:

    Yeah, previously it was that a factory bike would solve all of Crutchlow’s problems. Now it’s a satellite bike that will solve them. No doubt we should get ready to see and hear him use his infantile tactics (WAAA… WAAA…) again, about not having exactly the same bike that Marquez and Pedrosa have. And I wouldn’t be surprised if Redding gets the Öhlins and Brembo package, while Crutchlow gets the Showa and Nissin package giving him plenty of bone to pick with Honda.

    And I couldn’t care less about Crutchlow suffering at Ducati. Everybody and their grandmothers knew that it would be a disaster for him, but he signed (“sighned”?) with them anyway. Ducati courted him like he was the second coming of Casey Stoner, so both got what they deserved.

    If anything, Cal got shafted by Ducati because it’s been clear from the beginning of the season that Ducati wanted an all-Italian lineup. The whole world and the Martians knew that Cal wouldn’t be a good fit for the factory of the Sith, so it was only inevitable that they would find a way to boot him from the collective.

    Once Iannone officially occupies Crutchlow’s seat, I would be wholly surprised if his bike – or Dovizioso’s bike – would have as many technical problems as Crutchlow’s has had this season. Barring the usual reliability teething problems of new bleeding-edge prototypes, I don’t expect to see any of that at all. (Insert your conspiracy theories here:__________________.)

    Ugh.

  19. L2C says:

    We’ll see if LCR comes to regret losing Stefan Bradl, because this deal with Crutchlow was much more about getting a larger sponsorship commitment from British financial company and sponsor CWM FX than Crutchlow being a better rider than Bradl. And what’s not being said is the hope that Crutchlow will also help struggling BT Sports to draw more British/UK subscribers to their MotoGP coverage, BT Sport far from having the same success as BBC Sport/Eurosport.

    LCR is proud to announce 2015 rider @calcrutchlow. More Details coming soon. Great support from @CWMFX— LCR Honda MotoGP (@LCRHondaMotoGP) August 2, 2014

    Ugh. Two times.

  20. Man, what’s with all the negativity towards Crutchlow? Dovi had an absolutely soul-crushing first season on the Ducati that left him with a season-long case of PTSD. Seriously, guys, you’re engaging in revisionist history if you don’t consider Crutchlow’s last season with Tech3 to have been both credible and exciting, finishing up the season a solid 5th. Only the factory Hondas and Yamahas were ahead of him.

    Fix all his problems? D’oh! Cal didn’t leave Tech3 because of problems, he left because he wanted a factory ride. He got that. Unfortunately, he also got a Ducati, which goes to show that one should be careful of what one wishes, for one just might get it. Cal has the same shell-shocked demeanour that Dovi had last season. Give him a break. He didn’t suddenly become a crap rider over one season simply because the colour of his leathers changed.

    Jeebus Cripes.

  21. L2C says:

    August 2, 2014 at 5:43 PM

    Trane Francks says:

    Fix all his problems? D’oh! Cal didn’t leave Tech3 because of problems, he left because he wanted a factory ride. He got that. Unfortunately, he also got a Ducati, which goes to show that one should be careful of what one wishes, for one just might get it. Cal has the same shell-shocked demeanour that Dovi had last season.

    I said as much, Trane. But the biggest problem for Cal at Tech 3 was that he wasn’t riding for a factory! That’s why he ended up at Ducati, because factory = Ducati not Tech 3. Duh.

    The other thing is that, when he gets to LCR, he’s going to wail that same tune. I have no doubt about it because that’s how Cal gets what he wants. He makes a big fuss, he’s hungry, he wants his Enfamil, er, factory ride.

    Another point is patience and loyalty. Clearly he doesn’t have any. Knowing that Ducati was going to deliver a brand new bike next year was not enough for him. He couldn’t suck it up and keep more or less quiet and keep his nose to the grindstone. Dovi stuck it out. And Hayden would have if he didn’t get shafted to make way for Crutchlow. Those are the breaks, it’s racing, I know — but it still stinks.

    I’m not wishing anything bad on any rider or team, but if Ducati delivers a silver bullet next year, Cal is going to look mighty foolish and his stock is going to tumble like Drexel Burnham Lambert or Bear Stearns. Because those factory Ducatis are going to whoop the satellite bikes back into the mid-pack and keep them there, where they belong. And nobody is going to want to hear what Cal has to say about it or what his current issues with the satellite Honda are.

    Reportedly, Cal is going to receive at least the same level of factory support at LCR that Bradl had, so he will have no excuses anyway.

    To be really cynical, I bet Cal starts making a play for Aprilia or Suzuki as soon as he possibly can, no doubt he’s going to at least try to get the attention of HRC also. But he’s going to have to perform better than Bradl ever did — and he’s going to have to beat the Ducatis and the Tech 3s. And Aleix Espargaro. Can you say tall order?

  22. Yeah, well, for Cal the issue will be brakes. Unless Honda is willing to let him race his beloved Brembos, he’s going to be struggling for brake feel with the Nissins. I wish I could say that I’m feeling all warm and fuzzy with Cal’s move to LCR, but I have this sinking feeling that you’re right on the money with regard to his drop in stock.

    I wouldn’t say he is has no loyalty; I consider that to be an unfair statement. As even Poncharal has stated on several occasions, there were no bridges burned in Cal’s departure from Tech3. Ducati may well consider this to be a bridge burned on Cal’s part, but with Iannone’s performance warranting a full factory seat and his move making an all-Italian squad, I think it becomes more a matter of convenience. Heck, it may well be at the end of the day that Ducati itself talked with LCR to help pave the way to a move. As it stands now, this whole thing looks to be a big win for Ducati and a lateral slide into greater obscurity for Cal.

    No sleight intended towards LCR, mind you; it’s just that with Nissin and Showa being the underpinnings, the team is already facing an uphill struggle. Demanding podiums in that scenario is a really big ask.

  23. L2C says:

    @ Trane Francks

    Bradl’s bike is currently set up with the Öhlins and Brembo stuff, so if the reports are right, Cal should get the same package next year. Bautista’s bike is the one that suffers a slight performance difference because of the Showa and Nissin stuff.

    It remains to be seen what Honda will do for Scott Redding’s RC213V next year. Redding should raise hell if he’s forced to race Showa and Nissin, but I think he’ll race Öhlins and Brembo because the RC1000Vs are already running Showa and Nissin. So Hayden, Aoyama and the other Honda production racer guys will get the pleasure of continuing to be a test bed for Showa/Nissin development. At least they’ll have a much faster and more competitive bike to enjoy.