Cal Crutchlow hints all is not lost at LCR Honda despite Marquez move

Cal Crutchlow points out he hasn't been officially dropped by LCR despite Honda's own suggestions the 2020 MotoGP season will be his last

Cal Crutchlow - LCR Honda 1200

Honda may have all but confirmed his exit from the manufacturer fold later this season but Cal Crutchlow himself has suggested he could still yet be a factor in LCR’s 2021 MotoGP rider line-up

As expected, Alex Marquez was confirmed to be joining the satellite squad next year in the week he will make his MotoGP debut with the full-factory Repsol Honda. Though LCR is yet to confirm the identity of its second rider, Honda’s message of thanks to Crutchlow was interpreted as him leaving the operation entirely at the end of the year.

However, while Crutchlow certainly wasn’t feigning surprise upon learning of Marquez’s appointment, he points out neither he nor Takaaki Nakagami have been formally confirmed as yet.

This could potentially suggest Crutchlow has lost Honda factory backing and could be handed a lifeline by LCR boss Lucio Cecchinello personally to fund his place in the team.

“I knew this was the situation three months ago," Crutchlow told BT Sport in the wake of Marquez’s announcement. "So I put in motion to continue to ride.

"Like I said, I wanted to continue to ride at the end of last year and start of this year and things are looking positive to continue racing in MotoGP and we'll assess the situation when some more stuff becomes a little bit clearer.

"But overall this situation is not a shock to me. I knew it was happening a long time ago. We also have to remember I've had some great years with LCR, this will be my sixth season with them. All my three wins in MotoGP have been with this team and also a lot of podiums.

"I have them to thank for that because we put together a great programme. I think it's been a great success over the years and I'll give my all again this year for them.

"But at the end of the day that story is not finished either, because Taka is not confirmed in LCR yet and I know Lucio wants to keep me. So in the end that story is not finished and my story in MotoGP is not finished either.

"I feel good, I feel strong. Last time I finished a MotoGP race I finished second to Marc Marquez in Australia. So I'm still competitive, still hungry and still determined. I can't wait to get this season underway and see how it goes."

Despite the glimmer of hope, Nakagami’s close ties to Honda, which in turn proves financially rewarding for LCR Honda itself, is expected to keep him in the team for 2021.

As such, if Crutchlow is the rider on his way out of the team then he has been left with a slimming number of available rides – no more than five - for 2021 and four of those come from the Ducati table across its factory, Pramac and Avintia stables.

Barring a reconciliation with the Italian firm after a troubled campaign together in 2014, it appears Crutchlow’s hopes lie with a possible seat at Aprilia in place of Andrea Iannone, albeit only if his drugs suspension is upheld. 

The three-time MotoGP race winner – who has backing from Dorna to retain a British interest on the grid - has said he is interested in the spot, while Aleix Espagraro says he would be very welcome as his team-mate