11 Years, and no longer counting
Friday 24th, Saturday 25th & Sunday 26th August. This will be a weekend that Cal Crutchlow will never, ever forget. A first British podium for a rider in the premier class for 11 years.
Cal has managed to achieve what no British rider since Jeremy McWilliams did back in Motegi in 2001. We have had double world superbike world champions attempt it, British superbike world champions, yet at 2pm in Brno Cal finally managed to park his Yamaha in Parc Ferme and get a taste of the bubbly for the first time on a GP podium.
But there will be a bittersweet feeling for Cal. He has made no secret of his desire to be on a factory motorcycle, and of course that is the aim of every rider out there. But this weekend he confirmed he will be supporting the factory Yamaha team of Jorge Lorenzo and the returning Valentino Rossi under the Tech3 banner for at least one more season.
Whilst this is fantastic news for British race fans, resulting in a “British dream team” with Bradley Smith it must be a little blow to Cal. Yes there are positives, he is currently 5th in the world championship on this bike, whilst his team mate is 4th, so the bike is obviously quick. He further emphasized this pace in the post race Brno test by setting the quickest time of the day, ahead of the factory riders and bikes, but it’s not a factory machine.
If you rewind back to Mugello, Cal was apparently on the cusp of agreeing a deal to ride the factory Ducati. Thoughts on the Ducati aside, with or without the help of Audi. Cal in a recent interview summed it up perfectly “If you want to be a world champion, you need to be on a factory bike, and I want to be a world champion” there is it, cold hard facts. Yes the Tech3 might be quicker than a Ducati this season, but you also have two factory machines faster than the Tech3’s.
Either way we shouldn’t look beyond the super ride from Cal this weekend in the Czech Republic. And with the weight off his shoulders of worrying about what he would be racing next year let’s hope Cal can take more podiums this season, and end this ongoing hunt for the first rider since a certain Mr. Sheene for a British premier class win!! Well done Cal!