Cal Crutchlow is keen to build on the successes of last year in the new season of MotoGP which effectively begins this weekend in Sepang with the first of nine days of testing ahead of the opening round in Qatar in March.
The Isle of Man resident, who ended a 35-year winless term since a British rider took victory in the World Championship with his success at Brno last August, followed by a momentous triumph in Australia, is ready for more of the same but top of the list is home glory at Silverstone's British round.
“The win in the Czech Republic took time to sink in - I had decided on tyre choice, was 14th or 15th on the first lap. Maybe I was the better weatherman on the day and that win was special. I had been trying for so long, I thought it should have come in 2012 or in what was was a good season with Ducati," he said.
“Then there was Australia, a good race, the track conditions did not change, I enjoyed but the races over the years at Silverstone have always been bittersweet. A love-hate relationship with the circuit. I had a double win in World Superbikes, then crashed in my MotoGP debut and broke my collarbone so to go back there and get pole and second place with my wife and baby daughter there was very special.
“Everyone says you get slower when you have a baby but I have proved that wrong and, yes, there was something special about that podium at Silverstone. I said to them after winning at Brno that as ticket sales had risen, then maybe I should get some commission, but maybe this year?”
Crutchlow was speaking at a posh luncheon at the RAC Club in London’s Pall Mall where he received the Torrens Trophy in recognition of his MotoGP victories which ended the long wait since 1977 when Barry Sheene had last won a race in the top flight.
“Receiving the trophy is a great honour, a great privilege for motorcycle racing to be recognised in this way. It’s nice to have. Over the years I have had many good results and won championships but I race because I love racing, not for the awards. I love my sport and I love the direction we are going in now. I have put a lot of work, hard work to get here so it is so nice to be recognised with this trophy.”
Crutchlow had returned from training in Califronia, stopping overnight in his home in the Isle of Man and then calling in at the awards ceremony, en route to Malaysia for testing. “The new season, we are excited, motivated, and I hope to start the season better than last year. I feel at home with my team, they do a good job, we have very good technical support from Honda. I am at a good point in my career with good working relationships. I will try my best with what we have and can only improve.
“New season, new ideas, but they don’t always listen to me,” said Crutchlow with a smile. “There are six riders at Sepang all working to a plan and a schedule at the test to see what is best, but be assured my motivation is high as we develop the bike. The season ahead will not be easy - look at 2016 with nine different race winners, and there could have been others.
“I would be happy to have similar results but we will keep working hard as a team to achieve more - I race for the sport, not the awards, but that said I really appreciate this award,” added Crutchlow who might live close to the infamous 37.73 mile TT Mountain Course conquered by last year’s Torrens Trophy winner Ian Hutchinson but who will not be persuaded to race it..
“I always wanted to do the TT but I would be divorced if I did,” said Crutchlow as his wife Lucy looked on.