MotoGP

LCR budgets a million for Cal Crutchlow’s crashes... but it’s worth it

LCR Honda boss Lucio Cecchinello admits Cal Crutchlow's regular crashes cost the team upwards of a million dollars in repairs... but thinks it's worth it

LCR Honda team manager Lucio Cecchinello has revealed his team has to budget upwards of a million dollars to cover the costs of Cal Crutchlow’s above average frequency of accidents in MotoGP… but insists it is worth it to have the Briton on board.

Crutchlow heads into his tenth – and possibly final – MotoGP season in 2020 with the satellite Honda team, riding the 2020 specification RC213V under contract directly from the Japanese firm.

During his time in MotoGP Crutchlow has accumulated three premier class wins – in so doing becoming the first British rider for almost 39 years to taste victory – and 19 podiums. He has also finished top ten overall in all but two seasons, peaking in 2013 with a run to fifth overall.

However, in this time Crutchlow has also acquired one of MotoGP’s most unenviable reputation for crashes over the course of the season.

Since 2013, Crutchlow has suffered 115 crashes during race weekends, placing him second only to Marc Marquez, who notched up 120 falls. Most of these incidents have come since Crutchlow joined LCR Honda.

It is a regularity that Cecchinello admits puts pressure on LCR to cover but adds it doesn’t concern him as the team gets more value from having Crutchlow on board than not.

“The falls, sometimes it happens,” he told GPOne. “If there aren’t too many disasters, we have to budget between $600,000 to $1,000,000 a year for him. We are always the last to leave the paddock. Finding a car in the parking lot is never a problem!”

Cecchinello also references Crutchlow’s infamously candid nature off the bike, an honesty that has sometimes landed him in hot water, most recently when he complained about the factory team siphoning off his engineers to work with Alex Marquez.

“He is a special, sincere man. A sincerity that sometimes creates some diplomatic problems with Honda and Michelin!”

Will Cal Crutchlow retire in 2020?

All eyes may be on Valentino Rossi to see whether he will hang up his leathers at the end of the 2020 MotoGP season, but many feel Crutchlow is the figure more likely to announce an exit sooner.

The Briton has dropped numerous hints of his impending departure from MotoGP, citing the increasing hardship of recovering from injuries, most notably the ongoing ankle ailments he suffered in Australia in 2018.

More clinically, it’s also hard to see where Crutchlow fits into the 2021 contract landscape. The Repsol Honda opportunity slipped by with him barely getting a mention – curious really given his status as a factory rider in a satellite team.

Moreover, it doesn’t seem other teams are knocking on the door and Crutchlow doesn’t seem proactive in seeking them out either.

That said, LCR are immensely fond of Crutchlow and if the Briton wanted to stay it’s likely they would petition Honda to continue paying his wages for at least another year. At the same time though, the Japanese firm could see it as an opportunity to get a precocious youngster – or a savvy rival poach – on its books.

Even so, one could see Crutchlow get another season with LCR Honda but after the birth of his daughter, he may see more life value in bidding adieu to the global travel.

After all, he could always become a test rider… it’s a very sought-after role these days!

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