Cal Crutchlow is adamant that intense speculation about his MotoGP future is not a distraction as he ponders a two-year offer to join Ducati’s factory squad.
The British rider was due to sit down with Yamaha boss Lin Jarvis in the Assen paddock tonight (Wednesday) to try and get further clarification on the Japanese factory’s 2013 strategy.
The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider’s number one priority is to remain on a YZR-M1 machine next season, but he wants to be next to Jorge Lorenzo in Yamaha’s factory squad.
Crutchlow is currently fourth in the world championship standings after a dazzling start to 2012 having scored three front row starts and five top six finishes.
Yamaha has yet to make him any formal offer for next season though MCN understands he has a verbal proposal from Tech 3 boss Herve Poncharal to remain on the same financial terms as his current two-year deal.
Crutchlow has a lucrative two-year deal to join Ducati, as was exclusively revealed by MCN earlier this month, and he says he is not swayed against joining the Bologna factory by Valentino Rossi’s abject failure to make the Desmosedici a consistent podium challenger.
Crutchlow is also due for talks with Honda management in Assen this week but he said negotiations about his future would not be a big off-track distraction.
He said: “It doesn’t divert me from the job in hand. At the moment I ride for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team and my job is to do the best I can for them. Yamaha are doing a fantastic job and so are the team. I am happy and hopefully I can continue to get some good results.”
Crutchlow though says he will have no hesitation to leave Yamaha if they can’t offer him the factory ride he desires.
Competition for the seat next to 2010 world champion Lorenzo is fierce with Valentino Rossi, Ben Spies and Andrea Dovizioso all linked with the ride.
Crutchlow told MCN: “At the moment I have a two-year factory offer but not with Yamaha and I am waiting to see what their plan is.
"Staying with Yamaha is what I want to do but I am not worried to move to Ducati. It is a factory team and they do a great job and I have to look at the pros and cons. They are not fast at the moment but who is to say that won’t change.
"My priority is to stay with Yamaha. If Yamaha can’t offer me a factory ride, which I think I deserve being fourth in the world championship, then I’ll look to go somewhere else.
"I’ve had four great years with Yamaha and I want to stay with them and they know that. I’ve been as loyal to them as much as they have been with me, so hopefully we’ll find out what is going on very soon and I can make a decision.
"Whether I ride for Yamaha or not next year, I won’t be falling out of love with them. It just means there wasn’t an opportunity for me to go and ride there. I could ride for Herve again next year but I came to MotoGP with ambitions to be world champion and you can’t do that on a privateer bike.
"You can win races but I am already two steps down on the engine and one on the chassis compared to the factory team, so I am not going to beat Lorenzo on a privateer bike.
"Maybe next year I won’t be at the level to beat Lorenzo anyway but I also think if you warrant the chance you should be able to have it. It is not my decision and it doesn’t mean at all that Ducati is my second choice.
"My choice to remain with Yamaha is because I am with them now and it is down to loyalty. At the moment the factory Ducati is maybe not as good as my privateer Yamaha but they are not going to want to be finishing where they are.”
Looking ahead to what is sure to be a painful experience in Assen this week, Crutchlow is confident he can keep his fine form going in the historic Dutch TT.
The 26-year-old will ride through the pain barrier with the ankle he broke in practice for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone earlier this month still a major discomfort.
Crutchlow bounced back from his practice crash at Silverstone to storm to a heroic sixth place from the back of the grid and he sported a special air boot when he arrived for the pre-event press conference in Assen today and he said: “It has not been too bad and my ankle is coming on good.
"I went back to the Isle of Man and used the hyperbaric chamber to try and get the swelling down. It is like breathing pure oxygen to try and decrease the swelling. Luckily I didn’t have to have any surgery with it but I am making good progress.
"Obviously we could see in Silverstone it never hindered me too much in the race. It is a bit sore to walk on the heel because it is still broken inside. I have to wear a boot just to keep the foot in line in case I roll over on it, so not to damage it more.
"I can move the foot up and down but not side to side. It is getting better but I just need some time. The foot is still sore and painful but it is not too bad. I won’t be complaining.”