MotoGP

LCR boss expects Honda to retain Cal Crutchlow for 2021 MotoGP season

Cal Crutchlow, Valentino Rossi and Andrea Dovizioso won't use the disrupted 2020 MotoGP season to call time on their careers, according to Lucio Cecchinello

LCR Honda team boss Luccio Cechinello says he fully expects Honda to greenlight a contract extension for Cal Crutchlow for the 2021 MotoGP World Championship season.

The Briton himself had hinted the 2020 campaign may prove to his last in the premier class, but an interview with sister publication Crash.net recently revealed he now fully intends to stay on beyond his current contract.

Crutchlow made his MotoGP debut in 2011 with Tech 3 Yamaha and famously ended Britain’s 35-year wait for a premier class race winner in 2016 at the Czech Republic Grand Prix. In nine seasons he has achieved three MotoGP wins and 19 podiums.

Nonetheless, recent seasons have been blighted by injuries with an accident at Phillip Island in 2018 leaving him with a damaged ankle that hampered him at times in 2019. With this in mind he’d signalled he won’t look to renew his contract beyond 2020 but has since had a change of heart saying he is looking to re-sign with either Honda or another team.

For Cecchinello, who rates Crutchlow highly, he expects Honda to take up the opportunity for at least one more year particularly as the 2020 season has been so heavily disrupted by the coronavirus.

"HRC provides us with information about the riders and supports our program with a very nearby motorcycle the official,” he told Gazetta dello Sport. “The possible renewal for 2021 goes through them, but I think Cal will continue. 

Crutchlow hasn’t been the only rider linked with walking away from the sport at the end of the year with Valentino Rossi deciding between retirement and continuing with the Petronas SRT team, while Ducati lead rider Andrea Dovizioso has also cast doubt on his plans beyond 2020.

However, Cecchinello thinks the current climate will ultimately convince them to stay on to honour their departures with a full season

“Like Rossi and Dovizioso. A rider will never want to end his career in this way. What Valentino has done is exceptional. As a rider, you should have a monument on all circuits. 

“And then as manager he put his heart and money into VR46, teaching riders like Morbidelli and Bagnaia a lot of secrets, with whom he is struggling today. The work he has done all these years with young people has been ridiculed.”

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