MotoGP

Cal Crutchlow: Honda should be making me stronger, not weaker...

Cal Crutchlow believes Honda is hampering his chances of a good performance in 2020 MotoGP but refusing to return his former engineers to LCR

Cal Crutchlow has accused Honda of working against him by refusing to return the engineers he was forced to give up on Jorge Lorenzo’s arrival in the Repsol team last year.

Crutchlow says he enjoyed a step forward in performance when he began working with electronics specialists Arlan Holterman and Marco Barbiani and engineer Gianni Berti, only for the HRC-contracted personnel to be shifted over to Lorenzo’s side in the wake of his big money signing from Ducati this season.

The Briton – who scored three podiums with LCR Honda this year compared with 2018’s race-winning campaign – requested they return to his side of the HRC set-up but they will instead be retained in Repsol Honda to work with Alex Marquez.

It is a decision that has upset Crutchlow, who feels he and therefore the wider team would benefit more from Honda funnelling it resources into a proven podium contender rather than limit their effectiveness on a rookie. With this in mind, he feels Honda isn’t giving him the best opportunities to perform.

“The ironic thing is I have no idea what's changing for next year but something will be changing,” he told Crash.net. “As I said, Honda took my guys away from me and surely from my point of view, I'm the only guy that can go on the podium with Marc this year, the year before, the year before that and probably next year.

“I hope Taka [Nakagami – team-mate] makes a step and I think he will. But the closest guy to Marc [Marquez] is me, so surely you should make me stronger and not weaker.

“And they took my guys away from me last year and it was disappointing. And they're not giving them back to me. Even though I think it will not make too much of a difference with Alex. It would make a big difference to me but not really to Alex. He's learning.

“But this is the way it is and have to accept it. They took them from the team and then they put them in [Repsol] Honda."

Tensions showing between Cal Crutchlow and Honda?

Crutchlow’s comments come as six-time World Champion Marc Marquez emphasised he will not allow Honda to tweak the 2020 RC213V to be ‘easier to ride’ if he is quick on it.

This will come as a frustration for Crutchlow, who suffered several crashes trying to go quickly on the 2019 model which even Marquez admitted was difficult to ride.

However, his 12 wins and 18 podiums mean Honda is likely to develop the 2020 machine to his demands , while his team-mate/brother Alex Marquez will likely get the best tools available to him – not least brotherly advice – to adapt himself to it.

This leaves Crutchlow in the unenviable situation of being supplied with a bike he has barely any input on and is unlikely to suit his riding style again.

“We have to be positive that they’ve made a step in some areas and I feel a bit more comfortable and confident on the [2020] bike,” he said after testing this week. “But as far as the bike is concerned with regards to it being easier to ride, it's not.”

As for the three-time race winner’s future, Crutchlow has already hinted that 2020 MotoGP will be his last in the sport, a fact arguably consolidated by HRC’s decision not to consider him to replace Lorenzo in the Repsol set up.

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