MotoGP

Cal Crutchlow prepares for Honda MotoGP exit, eyes up Aprilia move

Cal Crutchlow accepts his time at Honda in MotoGP is coming to an end as he eyes up a switch to Aprilia for the 2021 MotoGP season

Cal Crutchlow has conceded this will almost certainly be his final season in MotoGP as a Honda rider ahead of an anticipated reshuffle to accommodate Pol Espargaro, but says he is interested in a possible switch to Aprilia instead.

The Briton looks set to be the biggest loser from Honda’s grab for Espargaro, who will join the factory Repsol Honda team in place of 2020 rookie racer Alex Marquez for next season.

To compensate, Marquez will almost certainly be placed on a factory-spec Honda at LCR, in what is likely to be a like-for-like replacement with Crutchlow rather than his well-backed Japanese team-mate Takaaki Nakagami.

Indeed, while no confirmation has been relayed to Crutchlow himself, he nonetheless accepts he will be on his way out of the team when the 2020 MotoGP season ends after seven years.

“My time with Honda has been great and we have achieved a lot together but all good things must come to an end at some point,” Crutchlow told Bikesportnews.com. 

“I’ve had 19 podiums with Lucio and his team but he now has other things on his plate. If a deal isn’t done with Taka then I might be able to stay but I think the chances of that are remote.”

With Honda still yet to formally confirm Espargaro – despite KTM signing his replacement in the meantime - Crutchlow is left with scant options if he wants to remain on the grid in 2021. 

However, he is nonetheless being increasingly linked with Aprilia, who will be on the hunt for its own experienced rider in a dwindling marketplace if it’s first option of Andrea Iannone isn’t able to overturn his drugs ban at an upcoming hearing.

Though Aprilia hasn’t been a kind destination for a number of riders who have come and gone swiftly – including Scott Redding, Sam Lowes, Alvaro Bautista and Stefan Bradl - Crutchlow is intrigued by all-new and well-received RS-GP concept.

“Honestly, I am not feeling bad about it. I want what I am doing to be fun because it’s not about the money and developing the RS-GP with Aleix could be a lot of fun.

“I see it as an opportunity to try and get podiums with every manufacturer I have ridden for in MotoGP and that I am very determined to help develop the bike with a lot of commitment to the project. I’m sure I can do.”

However, one avenue Crutchlow has ruled out is a return to WorldSBK despite apparent interest from Honda in particular.

“I had options and I really appreciate it but although I think it’s a great series I won’t be racing there next season. I do however think that the option to go was a good one and something that interested me.”
 

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