by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
GP Week : Issue 170
“PEOPLE THINK THERE’S A BIG RIFT BUT IT’S JUST HYPED-UP MEDIA CRAP ..." DO YOU HAVE FRIENDLY RELATIONS WITH CAL? “ALMOST.” (LAUGHS) CRUTCHLOW DOVI Crutchlow’s background is less immediately auspicious: five months older than Dovi and a relative late-comer to bike racing, his career until last year had been spent on production based bikes, garnering a World 600cc Supersport title and a few impressive wins on the full-size R1-based Yamaha Superbike. Good racing knowledge, but acquired not only without the use of carbon brakes and on different circuits, but also on bikes with a very different character. Bikes you can ride fast and loose, because that’s how they handle. GP bikes in all classes are much more precise. Dovi says his greatest advantage over Crutchlow is his better braking. The Englishman agrees, but explains how it runs deeper: “It’s more about technique of riding a GP bike, and experience. I bet the strong boys, the real strong boys, are taking a second out of (Superbike rider and Stoner substitute) Jonny Rea in the braking areas here ... because coming from that sort of style it just takes so much time. It’s difficult to get your head around – especially if you haven’t ridden 250s and 125s, with that braking so hard initially. With these chassis you can do it. Also with these Bridgestone tyres. “I’ve made a massive step compared with last year. I was probably braking 50 metres earlier than I am now. “What happens now with Dovi is we’re braking in the same place, but he brakes a little harder initially, where I brake more later towards the corner, so I close up on him in the braking area ... it’s a good fight.” Dovi is aware of the same details, for each has full access to the other’s data: “I check every time the data,” says the Italian. “If somebody’s faster than me in some place I have to understand why, and if I can do something.” But it doesn’t go any further, in sharing riding tricks: “We can speak about the bike, about problems we have, about the tyres. It’s no problem ... but we don’t speak to improve our feeling.” In this way, he keeps his secrets. Dovi has beaten Cal everywhere since the first two races except at Silverstone (crash) and Brno (out-ridden). At the first two rounds, the Italian was still adapting to the Yamaha. One important learning step came from Cal in the opening round. “I arrived from the (Honda) experience where you have to be really perfect and try to use the best acceleration. The Yamaha is completely the opposite, so ... at the beginning it wasn’t easy to understand. “I had to change ... not my style, but the idea of how to ride. Hard braking, fast entry, high speed in the middle of the corner. Also the lean angle is not a problem, as it is with Honda. You have to use a big angle because you have more speed mid-corner, for a better exit. On the Honda you have to stop more, pick up and make the acceleration as straight as you can. “I learned something from Qatar, because at the end I was behind Cal and I couldn’t fight with him because I didn’t understand. I tried to use acceleration, and I was faster than him. That’s when I understood it wasn’t the way.” The two men could hardly be more different in personality. Dovi is guarded and considered, analytical about racing, careful with his words. Cal shoots from the hip with a quick wit and a jokey approach. This is exactly reflected in their respective riding styles. Most remarkably, they remain perfectly cordial off the track. “It’s strange for me, and really fun,” says Dovi. “We speak a lot, he is playing with everybody. Is good to be a team-mate with Cal. He approaches everything in a different way than me, but not in a bad way, so it is good.” Are you friends? “No,” says Dovi. “That is something too big.” Is he ever friends with other riders? “You have friendly relations.” Do you have friendly relations with Cal? “Almost.” (laughs) For the Englishman: “People think there’s a big rift but it’s just hyped-up media crap ... like if you’re close on the track you’re going to hate each other. But it’s not the case, not at all. We go round to each other’s motorhomes and stuff like that. We go out for some food. At the end of the day we want to beat each other but it’s not a bad situation. It’s not personal.” Well, not that personal. And in the end mutually beneficial. Crutchlow’s second season with the same team has been marked by a great leap for ward, in results and lap times: six times qualified on the front row. “It shows how well we’re riding ... both of us,” says Cal. “We bounce off each other as riders. We work in different ways, as in I’m faster on corner entry and mid-corner, where he is faster in the first initial braking and corner exit. “It’s quite a good show always.” 41 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: MOTOGP >>> FEATURE