Author: Bike Social Sports Reporter Posted: 10 Oct 2014
Britain’s Cal Crutchlow has a theory behind the lack of rider movement from World Superbike to MotoGP and refuses to accept that the door between the two Championships is closed.
Speaking to Bike Social at Silverstone recently, the Factory Ducati rider said, “I was the one willing to take the risk. A lot of them have had the opportunity every year but it’s just that they haven’t had the balls to take the pay cut to try and make it work like I did.”
Nobody on the current MotoGP grid other than Crutchlow has had a career path featuring progression to the pinnacle of global motorcycle racing directly from the World Superbike Championship. However, for the 2015 season, Eugene Laverty and Loris Baz will be making that same move from WSB to MotoGP, with Aspar and Forward Racing respectively, and have the opportunity to race against the 28-year old from Coventry.
Now in his fourth year in MotoGP, Crutchlow told us he had at least four offers at the end of his inaugural year in World Superbike in 2010, having finished 5th with the Sterilgarda Factory Yamaha Team. BMW, Ducati and Yamaha all wanted him to stay in WSB and offered big money fo him to do so. Instead he opted to take the two-year contract on offer from Herve Poncheral’s Monster Tech 3 Yamaha team with a view to what it could present in the longer term.
“When I was offered to stay in WSB with Yamaha, BMW and Ducati, the year that I left, I got offered a fortune to stay compared to what I was on with Herve but look at the difference now, it’s all about the bigger picture”, he said.
“You have to work hard. After the first year (in MotoGP), if someone had offered that to go back to World Superbike I’d have taken it, hands down, because I had a bad year. But it’s no different to this year. I had a bad year then but I came back the following year and I got podiums. In Qatar I was fourth behind three factory bikes, you know, that’s why I’m looking at this year and I’m not saying it’s the end of the world, I’m really disappointed with the way that it’s going but that’s racing. Sometimes you have good years, sometimes you have bad years.” Crutchlow continued.
He fears WSB riders are now too old to make the move. Reigning MotoGP champ, Marc Marquez, is still only 21 and Crutchlow’s team mate next season at Lucio Cecchinello’s Honda Team, will be 19-year old MotoGP rookie, Jack Miller. Miller has enjoyed a successful year in Moto3 and is fighting for th title but in a surprise move he'll be leapfrogging the middle class, Moto2, and heading straight in to the 1,000cc GP class instead.
Crutchlow said, “I really wish some of those guys from World Superbike would have taken the chance because I don’t think there’s much opportunity anymore to come. I think a lot of the guys now will probably be too old to make the transition. I’m not saying they’re old but in motorcycle terms they (the teams) can take 17-year old kids that are fast, and they are going to be the future. Nobody, I believe, had the balls to do it at the time. I did and it paid off.”
Who had balls? Top 5 movers from WSB to MotoGP
Won WSB title in 2001 and finished 2nd in 2002. Three podiums in 2003 with Ducati in MotoGP contributed to 6th in the championship. Two tough seasons lead to a return to WSB in 2006. Two more World Championships plus a wild card win on a Ducati at the final MotoGP round in 2006 at Valencia.
Won the 2000 and 2002 WSB Championships both with Honda. Moved to MotoGP in 2003 and after 11 ½ seasons with no wins, 12 podiums and a highest championship finish of 4th in 2005, Edwards’ MotoGP career came to an end this season.
Finished as WSB runner-up in 2005 with Honda before 70 races over four seasons with Suzuki in MotoGP securing one win, six further podiums and a best championship finish of 6th in 2007. Returned to WSB in 2010 but a knee injury forced retirement.
Won the 2004 and 2007 WSB titles with Ducati and Honda respectively then spent two seasons in MotoGP with Tech 3 Yamaha. 6 x 6th place finishes in 2008 resulted in 11th in the championship. Returned to WSB in 2010 with Yamaha then BMW but retired in 2011 due to a wrist injury
Won the WSB title with Yamaha in 2009 with 14 wins from 28 races. Moved to MotoGP with Tech 3 Yamaha in 2010, replacing Toseland. After three seasons, one win and a best championship finish of 5th in 2011, retired due to injury in 2013 having moved to Pramac Ducati.