MotoGP rider Cal Crutchlow has refused to speculate on his future, while the Le Mans paddock at this weekend’s French Grand Prix is rife with talk that the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider could be replaced in the team next year.
With rumours having first emerged in the British press, Team Manager Herve Poncharal hinted to motogp.com this week that the possibility of Crutchlow leaving the team is genuine, as the Englishman is the only rider to hold a contract until only the end of 2013. The suggestion is that Moto2™ front-runner Pol Espargaro could be a favourite to replace him.
“I don’t know,” Crutchlow said during Thursday’s press conference in France. “I have nothing to say on it. There’s not anything I know at the minute, so we can concentrate on the job on hand which is to race this weekend and race next weekend, until Herve tells me (something). Until Herve tells me I’m not riding the bike, I won’t not get on it.”
Crutchlow also clarified comments made by himself about his current situation, with Poncharal having debated the possibility that his rider had unfairly criticized the equipment available to him:
“I’ve said that my package is good, but my package is not this year’s latest package. My package is last year’s, so it’s definitely good – I’ve said that – but Herve also said that I had an option to sign a two-year deal with him, but if he hasn’t signed a contract with the manufacturer then what do I do? He could have put me in Moto2™ the second year…so I think it’s great that I only signed for one year.”
Later on Thursday, Crutchlow spoke with motogp.com commentator Gavin Emmett during a live Q&A session, in which he outlined his personal targets for the remainder of 2013.
“I expect we’ll be on the podium soon – the sooner, the better,” he said. “We can start building up towards the end of the season. Last year, the worst bit was the middle, but I had a strong end to the year. I think, in MotoGP, for a satellite rider to win a race is very difficult. I think you have to get a little bit lucky but I would take anything as it comes. However, I believe in my own ability and I believe there is no reason why – at a certain point of the year, when things are going well – we can’t be there. I’m adamant of that and that’s the way it is…doing it is a lot more difficult that just saying it, though.
“I think we’re doing our job at the minute, which is to be the top satellite rider. We’re very close to the factory guys, if not being a lot of the factory guys now and again. We can’t do much more than that, we really can’t. The only guys that are beating me are the factory guys, but I’m not to know…if I jumped on their bike would I go any faster? I don’t know. I might go slower, for all I know! It’s a situation that you can never control.
“You just have to do what you do but, if I can get some podiums I think the run will then start. That’s what I hope, anyway.”
Following the Grands Prix of Qatar, Americas and Spain, Crutchlow sits fifth in the Riders’ Championship and eight points behind Yamaha Factory Racing’s Valentino Rossi.