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GP Week : Issue 196
MOTOGP >>> FEATUrE CRUTCHLOW'S CHOICE Think Cal Crutchlow only went to Ducati for the money? He’s there to prove you wrong ... MICHAEL sCOTT explains The Ducati Desmosedici has earned an unenviable reputation among riders – as a graveyard of ambition and a destroyer of careers. Some might differ. The same bike was the making of Casey Stoner, transporting him to his first championship in 2007, and thereafter underlining his talent as he continued to win even as the handling deteriorated. And before we forget, Loris Capirossi made a fair fist of it. But the list of lambs to the slaughter is rather longer, and headed by Valentino Rossi. It includes Marco Melandri and Sete Gibernau, and arguably also Carlos Checa. Nor did the Duke do much for Nicky Hayden. Andrea Dovizioso clearly feels he is a candidate for sacrifice too, after his first grim year – in spite of new management in the shape of Bernhard Gobmeier, and renewed dedication to endless testing and retesting progress was negligible. At least those on the factory team payroll could rest their weary heads on their bulging wallets. Several satellite riders including Toni Elias, Sylvain Guintoli and Alex Barros had an equally dismal time. Is Cal Crutchlow the latest? Or has the feisty English rider timed it perfectly? He started his career with the Bologna-based team the same day that new manager Gigi Dall’Igna spent his first day in the Ducati pit, wearing red. Much is expected of the ex-Aprilia engineer, and Crutchlow is right in line to get the best of it. The timing of the move was not by choice. Crutchlow was in a bind, after racking up four early-season podiums on last year’s Yamaha on the satellite Monster team. He wanted a factory bike; they didn’t have one for him. The factory team was full up with Lorenzo and Rossi. Yamaha tried to keep him, even offering to stump up his salary to stay in a satellite team. When Ducati came along, laden with Marlboro money and a genuine factory seat ... well, he said yes. But was it just for the money? Some accuse him of selling off his GP hopes in exchange for the Marlboro millions (reports estimated the two-year contract at six-million Euros). What is his response? “I would say to them if they had done well in their current job and everyone else around was getting promoted, getting better equipment, would they stand for it? “I have a short career, and I want to earn what I’m worth. I’m fifth in the championship and there are six factory bikes, and I want to be paid like those factory riders. I don’t believe that’s being greedy. If you look at what Marc, Valentino and Jorge earn ... what Pedrosa has earned over so many years. I am getting paid what I am worth, I believe.” continued over page ...