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GP Week : Issue 151
GPWEEK: You seem to have taken a big step this year. Is it just because it’s your second year, or do the 1000s suit you better? CAL CRUTCHLOW: I don’t know. I like the 1000cc more; it suits my style of riding. But the tyres have changed as well. If you put me back on the 800 I think I’d be closer to the front than I was. More experience, second year in championship, blah blah blah. Last year you spoke about how you’d prefer tyres more like the Pirellis in Superbike – gripping well from cold, then sliding later in the race. Do the new ‘safety’ Bridgestones help you? That’s definitely what’s happened, but motorcycle racers are motorcycle racers. We ask for one thing, then when we get it we don’t like it. I think every rider’s the same. We wanted safer tyres and if they slide at the end of the race, that’s great. Now everyone’s like ... we wish they weren’t sliding round. It’s the same with the power of the bikes, people were thinking it’s too much and at a short circuit like this it’s definitely a lot. But then you get to Qatar and you’re screaming for more. Dovizioso’s joined your team and he’s spoken about hoping to swap next year with one of the factory riders. And Bradley Smith is supposedly moving up next year. Is this a big pressure on you? How important was it to beat Dovi? No different from any other rider. If a guy’s in front of you you’re going to want to pass him and beat him. It’s a bigger deal for everyone else than for me. At the end of the day, he should be five seconds up the road ... he was third in the championship last year. Maybe I’m riding better. I don’t think he’s riding any worse. Maybe now people are seeing the difference between a factory and a non-factory bike. How different is your satellite bike? A couple of specs on the engine, one spec on the chassis. One of the main things is the brakes ... we’re the only people on the grid not to have the new brakes, apart from CRT teams. And we’re not going to get them. The callipers are 11mm longer, so the pads also. In Qatar we were having to brake 17 percent more on the lever than Lorenzo and Ben. Every corner, every lap. The brakes we have are not bad. We just lose a little bit. When do you expect to get engine upgrades? I don’t know. I don’t bother asking. At the end of the day, Yamaha know what I’m riding, they know we’re not on the same spec. At the end of the day I’ll ride the bike I’ve got as fast as I can. Do you feel much pressure on your position in the team, with your contract up at the end of the year? I’m not here fighting for my job. Everyone expects Dovi to do a good job here, and I do too. But I feel the guys in the factory team will keep their jobs. Ben will win a couple of races this year – he’s a great rider, though he had a problem at Qatar. But it’s the first race of the season. Anything can happen. If I have to say what I want, I want to be on a factory team, but I’m not even thinking about it now. Are you riding better now than in World Superbike? I’ve changed my riding style a lot to a GP bike, and if I went back to SBK and ride the way I’m riding ... here I feel you ride 110 percent for eighth. There you ride 95 percent and you can be on the podium. It’s a matter of level. Have you had any trouble with CRT bikes getting in the way? I don’t agree with the concept of it at all. A GP bike should be a GP bike, and they ain’t GP bikes. If I got my old Superbike out and had someone play with the engine a bit and got some more horsepower and put some Bridgestones on, I’d go a lot faster than they are going. The concept is wrong. They’re trying to save money, but it’s bullshit. If they’re trying to save money, make the teams share hotel rooms, instead of everyone having a room to themselves. They’re spending money on crap, not bikes. Have you seen that new Blusens hospitality out there [a gigantic double- storey glass-fronted unit] ... it’s a joke. You might as well go to Honda or Yamaha and say you want to lease a bike for the amount it’s going to cost trailing that all around Europe. Casey’s right in what he says: Nobody knows what’s going on in MotoGP because the rules are never stable. Get some stable rules, and if you can’t afford to be in it, then goodbye. We need to make it more affordable, but some guys getting lapped is not a show. How has your life changed since coming to GPs? F*** all! There’s more money in the paddock, but the riders get no more money. I could’ve earned more in World Superbike easily. So all this stuff about coming here and earning a load of money, gone are them days. I could have easily earned with bonuses double in Superbike. I know a few guys are riding for free in MotoGP. Talking about rules, what rule would you like to introduce? MotoGP bikes on the grid and that’s it, but with a budget cap. I reckon Livio Suppo’s idea was the best: everyone changes bikes all the time and you get paid from your prize money. I’d do that all day long, so would Casey, so would loads of them. Why not? 5 MINUTES WITH CAL CRUTCHLOW A rookie last year, with the arrival of the 1000cc generation former Superbike rider Cal Crutchlow has arrived up among the fast guys, underlining it with fourth at Qatar, beating fancied Yamaha Tech 3 team-mate Dovizioso in the process. He was doing the same at Jerez, when MICHAEL SCOTT asked him to explain himself 5 MINUTES 16 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: