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GP Week : Issue 122
Britain’s latest MotoGP hope is going through all the ups and downs of his first season – including broken bone rehab ...He spoke with MICHAEL SCOTT 5 Minutes with ... CAL CRUTCHLOW Yet another British hope from Superbikes – but Cal Crutchlow’s a live one, pushing hard and turning heads from the start. The plain-talking 25-year-old Coventry racer, 600 Supersport champ in 2009 and debut-season Superbike race-winner, had his MotoGP progress interrupted by a collarbone-crunching crash at home in Silverstone. Two weeks later, he was back ... GPWEEK: Two weeks and your back, and on the charge. Has the crash affected you at all? CAL CRUTCHLOW: My shoulder’s sore, changing direction’s difficult ... but what do you do? I’m hoping for it to be wet ... you have a better chance of a good result. You also have a better chance of crashing, but f*** it ... as Colin says, we’re already injured anyway. So no change then. I’m pissed off, more than anything. I didn’t crash because I was pushing. I crashed the same way everybody else crashed in this championship – the tyres are not right. As a rookie if I was the only one to crash, then it’s my own fault. But when Valentino breaks a leg, and he’s been here 10 years, and Colin breaks his collarbone and he’s been here 10 years, and when Aoyama breaks his back halfway through a season, Bautista’s been here a year and breaks his femur ... how many bones do they want broke before something changes? (Crutchlow was a leading voice in the call for changes in the tyre rules at Assen). The Bridgestone’s are really, really great in other ways: fantastic over race distance. But I’m sure the other riders would agree they would rather have a safe tyre from the start, and it spinning at the end of the race, because everyone’s in the same boat. You’ve out-qualified Rossi every race so far. I haven’t beaten him in any yet. I know I’m good at qualifying. I don’t expect to be consistent in the races yet. That’s for next year. The plan was to show some raw speed now and again this year. Luckily we’re doing it at circuits we don’t know. Do you have any tricks for learning a new track? No. I’ve been lucky – it’s just all come to me so far. Go round on my push-bike, that’s about it. Your favourite track? Monza. And we don’t go there (laughs). I know everyone thinks it’s just straight lines but you have to really set things up. Suits my riding style. Did you start moto-crossing as a kid? No. Played football for years. Then I just said I wanted to ride a bike. I was 13 years old. Progressed from there. In the modern era, that is late. I think it’s a bit of a disadvantage, but ... I’ll try and make it up. You don’t look scared on a MotoGP bike. Have you found the transition from Superbike easy? I was riding round Malaysia tests thinking – fookin’ ‘ell, I could go round here faster on my Superbike! I think we’ve made a good step forward. I think I’m mentally strong and determined. I think that’s paying off. I have to say ... it really is difficult. It is so different – I try and explain to guys at World Superbike now, and I swear to you – they think they’re going to come into MotoGP to win. They’ll have the biggest shock of their lives. Ben (Spies) is the only one over the years that’s managed to come across and do so well. Even I didn’t expect or think I would do as well as him, and I’m not. We’ve made a good progression, a lot better than other people, but Ben is a one-off, a fantastic rider. What’s the biggest difference? The bikes or the riding? The riding. If he guy at the back of this made the adaptation to Superbike racing, he’d piss it. What are you working on to improve your riding? What’s your weak point? Um ... a bit ragged, not so smooth. I’m more like Casey’s style to be honest. Casey ain’t afraid to twist the throttle, and nor am I. Sometimes it’s a good thing, sometimes bad. Depends how the race pans out. I’m not the best braker in the world. I brake easy, and then harder. GP bikes are the complete opposite, you need to brake as hard as you can initially, because of the carbon discs, and ease off. It’s not my style. Jorge’s similar to me: he ain’t the latest guy on the brakes, but he’s so smooth. I learn every time I go out. If somebody said: d’you think you’re doing a good job? I think there are some places I could have been better: Le Mans I shouldn’t have crashed. It was my own fault, but ... fookin’ hell, that happens in racing. Are you having fun? Racing’s fun when it comes easy, and GP at the minute don’t come easy. Because we go to a track, we don’t know it. We do a couple of sessions, it might start raining. And I don’t feel so comfortable on the bike. How do you spend time away from the tracks. Cycling. It’s a big passion of mine: I enjoy watching it, and I enjoy doing it. I spend most of my time cycling, through a day. I’d run more, but my knees are f****d from football. Books? Movies? I read Oscar De La Hoya’s autobiography recently – ‘ The Boxer’; ‘Boy Racer’ by cyclist Mark Cavendish. I like non-fiction. Movies is easy – ‘ T T 3D’. It could have been different, but it gives you a bit of the inside. What music do you listen to. I wouldn’t sit and listen to music. I’d rather sit and look at the floor, to be honest ... 18