Make no mistake Cal Crutchlow is doing an amazing job during his short career in Moto GP. He is asking not to be compared to Ben Spies but when you consider Spies had three Moto GP races under his belt at the same point in his career, Cal's 8th position in Qatar qualifying then 11th in the race is a pretty solid start.
He ended 2010 as one of the best world's best superbike riders but the 800cc Moto GP machines require different riding skills. Watching trackside it is easy to see the the riders have to brake later backshift quicker before getting back on the throttle on the corner entry. With the help of advanced electronics this loads the front tyre earlier giving the potential for greater momentum that continues past the apex to the corner exit and beyond. Everything appears to be happening in fast forward. This is a tricky process as Lorenzo proved in his first year by demonstrating some major corner entry highsides.
You also need a switched on crew back in the pits fine tuning all aspects of the bike for the rider. Cal's ability to immediately gel with his team and adjust his riding style says to me he can go all the way. Three years ago the dedicated and talented double World Superbike Champion James Toseland had the same potential with the same team but weak links appeared in the chain. I'm sure Tech 3 won't make the same mistakes this time round.
And if you've ever wondered what happened to a certain Mr Binladen then the mystery is solved. Turns out he's living a quiet life racing in the Middle East on a BMW 1000RR. I watched him qualify 2nd then finish an eventual 3rd Friday night's Qatar Moto GP support race. Next stop BSB?