Crutchlow: 2019 title 'finished', Dovi 'lost his opportunity'

Cal Crutchlow thinks Marc Marquez's Mugello performance signaled the end of Andrea Dovizioso and Ducati's 2019 MotoGP title hopes.
Crutchlow: 2019 title 'finished', Dovi 'lost his opportunity'

When Marc Marquez beat Andrea Dovizioso for second place at Ducati's home Italian MotoGP, the 2019 title chase was all but decided in favour of the Honda rider.

That's the opinion of Cal Crutchlow, who says the championship was "finished four races ago... At Mugello, a place where [Marquez] really struggled last year, he finished second and battled with them hard."

After losing out to Dovizioso by a fraction in the Qatar season opener, and later falling in Austin, Marquez has outscored his nearest title rival for the past six races in a row and entered the summer break with a huge 58-point advantage.

While the latest Honda can be a 'reluctant' in the corners, it is a match for the straight-line performance of the Ducati, helping Marquez battle the Desmosedicis at power circuits where they previously held a clear advantage.

But Crutchlow also feels Dovizioso is not riding as well as in the past.

"[Dovi's] not riding as well as last year, I believe. I don't know what's going on inside the garage, I don't know the bike he is riding, etc," Crutchlow said.

"If you look at him two years ago, not even last year, I think he was in a stronger moment than he is now. But I think Dovi rides better when he doesn't ride for the championship, when he goes for the race wins."

The LCR Honda rider added: "I think Dovi has lost his way. And it's quite clear to see, to be honest. In general, in the last races he's not been so fast. In many of the practices, I think he has more lost the way, and he's not using the bike's strengths.

"Dovi's a fantastic and great rider, a good friend of mine, but the tracks where he could have taken advantage of Marc, I think he's lost that opportunity.

"Hopefully he can go a little bit faster, because we need the championship to be better than the points difference is at the moment.

"All credit to Marc, he's riding better this year than he's ever ridden before because I don’t think the bike in some areas is as good. He’s making it work."

And when Marquez couldn't win at Mugello and Assen, the Honda rider switched his focus to beating Dovizioso.

"To me, [the title race is] finished. I think you all think the same as me, you’re just not saying it," commented Crutchlow, who joined Marquez and Maverick Vinales on the Sachsenring podium, with Dovizioso back in fifth.

During the German Grand Prix weekend, the Englishman was also asked about speculation that Marquez's injured Repsol Honda team-mate Jorge Lorenzo may consider retirement and rumours surrounding a future MotoGP move for Marc's younger brother Alex.

"First of all, you have to have respect for Lorenzo. He hasn’t made any comment. It’s probably just made up as per usual. I didn’t see anybody make a comment from Lorenzo saying what he’s going to do," Crutchlow said.

"That’s it. I don’t think about moving. I think about my team doing a good job and rewarding them today.

"I do think Alex deserves to move up to MotoGP, honestly speaking. He’s done a good job [in Moto2], but at the moment there’s no room. If something or someone stops or somebody moves out of MotoGP, then maybe.

"But he has to come on the right bike, because you see with the rookies, you see which bikes are easy to go on and which is not. So let’s wait and see.

"I think he’s doing a great job. I think there’s two manufacturers that he should go to, but he’s going to have to wait if he wants to go to them…"

The two 'rookie'-friendly' manufacturers are assumed to be Yamaha and Suzuki, with Alex Marquez's Moto2 team now confident they have a fighting chance of retaining the Spaniard for 2020.

Crutchlow is currently joint eighth in the world championship, three points behind top satellite rider Jack Miller (Pramac Ducati).