MotoGP

Only I and Stoner quick on Honda from a different bike – Cal Crutchlow

Cal Crutchlow emphasises the difficulty in adapting to the Honda from another bike, insisting only he and Casey Stoner have made a success of it

Cal Crutchlow believes Jorge Lorenzo would have come good on the Repsol Honda had he spent more time with the team, pointing out that precious few riders have made a successful transition to the RCV package directly from another bike.

Lorenzo brought his MotoGP career to an unexpectedly premature end at the conclusion of the 2019 MotoGP season after suffering a series of injuries among various issues getting comfortable on the Honda RC213V.

A anti-climactic end to a career that yielded three MotoGP World Championship titles – all with Yamaha – Lorenzo had come to Honda after succeeding in winning races for Ducati but never found his form on the RCV213, which Crutchlow has openly stated is a difficult bike to ride in the way it has been developed to suit Marc Marquez.

Indeed, Crutchlow says adapting to the Honda when you are better used to riding other machines heightens the challenge, suggesting only himself – having raced Yamaha and Ducati previously – and Casey Stoner have ever been able to get good results post-transition.  

"If you look on paper I'm the only guy who came from a different manufacturer and has been fast with this bike and been on the podium - [apart from Casey Stoner] but we're talking a different planet there,” he told Crash.net.

"I'm talking from a satellite rider point of view, that's the truth. Because Marc, Dani, Jack, Scott, Tito, Luthi had all only ever ridden a Honda. So I know what the other bikes feel like and their strong points, even though it was some years ago. The DNA of the bikes always stays the same."

“I always said, go and take one guy from Yamaha or Ducati and put them on the Honda and you'll see. It's a difficult bike. It takes many years," said Crutchlow, who began his own MotoGP career on a satellite Yamaha, then spent a season at the factory Ducati team before joining LCR and Honda in 2015.”

After moving from Ducati, Crutchlow scored a podium in his third start for Honda in 2015 before becoming the first Briton since Barry Sheene to win a premier class GP race the following year at Brno.

“Jorge Lorenzo would have got faster” – Cal Crutchlow

With a best finish of 11th place from his sole season at Repsol Honda, though Lorenzo sheer lack of pace in 2019 raised misgivings about whether he’d have ever been a contender with the team, Crutchlow is convinced he’d have hit his stride eventually.

“I still stand by what I said, which is that if Jorge would have stayed I think he would have come good in the end.

"Say you are three-seconds off, you're still going fast, you're still risking crashing. I know three-seconds in our world is a massive difference, three-tenths is a big difference. What I'm saying is, I think if he would have continued, he would have got faster.

"But I fully understand his decision, probably even more than anyone else in the paddock. It's not easy to get back up and what he's done in his career, he's fulfilled everything you could hope for really. He has to be happy, I'm sure he is."

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