‘A man I appreciate and love’ – Herve Poncharal on Cal Crutchlow

‘A man I appreciate and love’ – Herve Poncharal on Cal Crutchlow
Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Herve Poncharal has expressed his feelings on losing the services of Cal Crutchlow at the end of the current MotoGP™ season. The Englishman, who has been part of Poncharal’s Monster Yamaha Tech3 outfit since 2011, will join Ducati Team in 2014.

Speaking with motogp.com in an exclusive video interview, Team Manager Poncharal talked firstly of Espargaro’s signing:

"The summer was disturbed first by Cal’s departure and the good news that Pol is going to join our team in 2014. Seeing what Pol is doing in Moto2, I am sure that it is going to be an instant…let’s say, success. I believe he will be doing top five and top six results very early in the season. I am very excited because it will be Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro, who have both come from Moto2 and will push each other."

The Frenchman went on to openly describe his close relationship with Crutchlow, both as a rider and a friend, as well as the discussions involving his future:

"I have said it a lot already but I want to say it again: Cal is a very special rider for me. We have had a lot of riders, having been doing this job for almost 30 years – so you can imagine how many we have had! I think Cal is going to be in our memory as one of the outstanding riders.

"What do you want me to do? Cry? I have an incredible relationship with him, on-track and off-track. He is a rider I respect a lot and a man I really appreciate and love. I am not happy to lose him, but on the other hand he took a decision I think is very important for his career; he is going to be a full factory rider, he is going to have a decent salary and, if he can make that challenge work where some big names have failed, I think it is going to be very exciting. We will follow him; he will still come to eat in our hospitality, he will still come to visit us between races at our workshop and, who knows what is going to happen? In two or three years’ time he might be back with us.

"As Tech3 team manager, I tried to make the best offer I could to him. As a friend, we talked. Sometimes it is difficult to be managing the Tech3 company as well as trying to advise him – as does every rider, Cal was looking for advice and it was a big decision for him. I believe he made a good decision. I don’t know if it is the right decision…[pause]…I believe it is the right decision. He is going to be a full factory rider, he has a big challenge and there are a lot of high level technicians behind it."

Crutchlow’s current teammate Bradley Smith is also saddened to see his compatriot departing but looks forward to resuming his battle with old rival Espargaro.

"I am very disappointed to see Cal leave," Smith says. "He is someone great to have inside the garage and he does create a great atmosphere. Pol is someone who I have raced against all of my career; our career paths have gone pretty much the same way, all the way through our careers. It will be quite nice to have someone that is the same age and is going to be a rookie like I am, and things like that. (However) he will just be another guy - and another guy that I will have to try to beat."

To date, Crutchlow – who hails from Coventry but currently resides on the Isle of Man – has achieved six podium finishes with the Tech3 team, including second places at this year’s French and German Grands Prix. This season has also seen the 27-year-old achieve a maiden MotoGP™ pole position, at the Dutch TT in June.

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