Cal Crutchlow: taking the leap of faith

The British rider tells us about his jump from WorldSBK to MotoGP™, retirement, and learning not to take comments to heart

It’s a MotoGP™ Podcast that we thought would probably never happen, but as is often the case in this fast-paced world of motorcycle racing, unpredictability can be just around the corner. The not-so retired, charismatic Cal Crutchlow is this week’s guest, with hosts Matt Dunn and Fran Wyld catching up with the British star at MotorLand Aragon.

Cal Crutchlow, Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP, Gran Premio TISSOT de Aragón

Crutchlow has stood in for Franco Morbidelli at both Petronas Yamaha SRT and Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP this season, including a – probable – final farewell at Silverstone. The Yamaha Factory Racing test rider has been a household MotoGP™ name since 2011 when he made the leap from WorldSBK to MotoGP™. It’s a subject that has reared its head plenty of times over the last decade or so, and Crutchlow delves into what it was really like – and how he even wanted to switch back at the end of his rookie Grand Prix campaign.

“If you're talking about when I did, it was a completely different scenario (to now). I wanted to get to the best Championship in the world as soon as possible. And that was it. And I took the opportunity because I was doing well in World Superbike,” says Crutchlow, who notched up 10 podiums in his maiden WorldSBK season, including three wins.

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“Herve (Poncharal) and Yamaha took a big gamble on me. Because as we know, at the end of the first year, it’s been well documented, I wanted to come back to Superbikes. Because it was tough, really, really tough. I think it was really tough for me because of the 800s. A completely different way of riding. And I was not comfortable riding the 800s. Then we went to the 1000, the year after. And I was immediately fourth at the first test, the test after Valencia, fourth in the preseason test, fourth in the race in Qatar.

“So already I'd made that transition because it was just a bigger bike and I was able to ride it a little bit more like a Superbike. Where the 800 was robotic and really difficult for me to understand, coming from a Superbike where you have to manage a lot of things. So yeah, I did it. I think in my career that has been one of the best things that I've had about me. I can read the situation very well with regards to what is best to do for me and my career. Because I bounce Championships like you wouldn't believe. I went British Supersport, British Superbike, World Supersport, World Superbike, MotoGP. Five years, done. You know, and then I've been here but even after that, the way that I did my career with the teams that I selected and picked was just right for me, you know?

“The Superbike to MotoGP route is not as hard as what people think. I think that first year was very difficult for me, but different situation to what it would be now. You know, I think the tyres, the Michelin tyres are maybe close to what the Bridgestones were to the Pirellis of Superbike, so I don't think that jump would be as bad.”

Crutchlow goes on to share what he thinks about the “special talent” Toprak Razgatlioglu possesses and his decision to stay in WorldSBK, as well as retirement, learning how to shut out comments from fans and the media when things aren’t going well, as well as one of his great passions in life: cycling.

Head over to your favoured Podcast streaming platform to give the episode a watch/listen!

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