Cal Crutchlow Book of

1 Apr 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Cal Crutchlow Book of
Suzuki B-King Final Prototype

Cal Crutchlow

Cal Crutchlow is the most successful rider to come from the R6 Cup which ran alongside the BSB championship a decade ago. After finishing as runner up behind 2011 British Superbike champion Tommy Hill in 2003 he rode in the British Supersport championship.

In 2005 he finished joint 3rd overall in the BSS standings with Stuart Easton behind champion Leon Camier and runner up Craig Jones. The following year he clinched the title easily finishing 70 points clear of current WSB champion Tom Sykes before moving up to the Rizla Suzuki in the British Superbike series in 2007 as Chris Walkers team mate.

After a mediocre 1st season in British Superbikes with 8 DNF’s Cal scored his first podium in the final race of the season at Brands Hatch. He finished 9th in the overall standings and switched to the Factory Honda sponsored by HM Plant, his new teammate was Leon Haslam.

Crutchlow’s second BSB season was much more consistant, he finished on the podium 12 times in 24 races with 2 wins and only 3 DNF’s. Shakey Byrne was back on form with his new Ducati 1098 winning the title and finishing 117 points clear of runner up Leon Haslam who was Cals team mate, who finished in 3rd, 39 points back from Haslam.

In 2009 Cal made his debut on the world scene riding the factory Yamaha World Supersport R6. The championship became a two horse race between Cal and Eugene Laverty which Cal won, taking the WSS title with 9 podiums which included 4 race wins. Not bad for his rookie year in World Championship racing.

For 2010 Cal joined former 2 time World Superbike Champion and ex Moto GP rider James Toseland in the Factory Yamaha superbike team aboard the R1. James Toseland was a little annoyed when Cal pointed out that he was outperforming the former champion in the first race at Porimao during an interview. He wasn’t being arrogant, just happy that he was beating such a high profile rider as Toseland on the same machinery in his rookie season.

Toseland was possibly still bitter after 2 mediocre seasons in Moto GP and history tells us that an unhappy JT is generally not that competitive. (2005 WSBK title defense).

Cal finished 2010 5th in the Championship with 10 podiums, 3 of which were wins compared to teammate Toseland who only chalked up a couple of 2nd’s and 3rd’s. Toseland finished down in 9th position overall. Such an impressive performance earn’t Cal a ride in the Yamaha Tech 3 Moto GP squad where Toseland had been the previous year alongside Colin Edwards.

In 2011 Cal had a difficult year learning how to ride the GP bike. He crashed out in qualifying for his home GP at Silverstone breaking his collarbone and missed racing in front of a home crowd for the 1st time on a GP bike. Cal struggled with the Bridgestone tyres all season but finished 4th on a high at the final round in Valencia.

This put him 12th in the overall standings meaning he beat Karel Abraham to take the rookie of the year award.

2012 has started much better with a front row start from qualifying 3rd in the 1st round at Quatar. He claimed to have got a bad start because his feet couldn’t touch the ground properly in the post race interviews. Cal soon moved up through the field and spent most of the race behind new teammate Andrea Dovizioso.

Suzuki B-King Final Prototype

Then he made a move in the latter stages of the race to finish in 4th position.

At Jerez he showed he is a genuine front runner as he qualified 4th even after a mouse kept him awake half of the week. He beat Dovi again and pushed Danny Pedrosa all the way to line finishing with another solid 4th place.

At Silverstone this year calamity struck once again on Saturday before qualifying Cal crashed and broke his left ankle. He was allowed to race from the back of the grid at the last minute when he was cleared by medical staff to compete. From last place he managed an heroic ride all the way up to 6th position beating Nicky Hayden on the last lap.

Had it not been for a second year of misfortune he almost certainly would have been in a fight for the podium.

Things got better towards the end of the year with his first 3rd place podium coming at the Czech Republic and he scored a 2nd 3rd place podium at Philip Island at the penultimate round of the championship. Unfortunately a string of DNF’s caused him to finish only 7th in the championship behind Valentino Rossi on the Ducati, his team mate Dovizioso out performed him by a fair margin finishing behind Jorge Lorenzo, Dani Pedrosa and the retiring Casey Stoner.

Cal was not happy about n having to stay with the Tech 3 team for 2013 as Yamaha had Valentino Rossi back in the factory team to replace Ben Spies. To be fair Rossi out performed Cal in 2012 on what was regarded as an inferior bike and he beat Cal again this year by 50 points so I think Yamaha made the right decision.

Despite more consistent results, four podiums (one of which was a 2nd place), Cal has still been generally way off the pace of the front runners and often left behind by Rossi who is in the twilight of his career. Again Yamaha have not offered him a factory ride for 2014 so Cal has opted to try his hand at taming the factory Ducati.

Early testing doesn’t look good as Cal is already hoping for a new bike, staying with Tech 3 or moving to a prototype Honda would have been a better move. That said with Marc Marquez on the scene while Pedrosa and Lorenzo continue to get faster I’m beginning to wonder if Cal will ever win a race let alone the Moto GP championship. If he cannot at least beat his team mate Andrea Dovizioso in 2014 I think he ought to consider going back to World Superbikes.

Suzuki B-King Final Prototype
Suzuki B-King Final Prototype
Suzuki B-King Final Prototype
Suzuki B-King Final Prototype

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