Cal Crutchlow is nearing making a final decision on his 2014 MotoGP plans, with the British rider’s future dominating paddock gossip once again in Laguna Seca.
The 27-year-old is likely to make a decision on his plans during the three-week summer break that he will spend in California and an announcement could be made during the forthcoming Indianapolis round in mid-August.
Crutchlow’s signature is certainly the most sought after and he has Yamaha, Honda and Ducati still locked in negotiations about his future.
Yamaha and Tech 3 gave the former World Supersport champion a final take or leave it offer for a one-year deal during last weekend’s Sachsenring race in Germany.
But the Yamaha proposal is not anything like what Crutchlow is looking for. His request to stay another year at Tech 3 on a YZR-M1 included an assurance that he could move to the factory team in 2015.
That is not a commitment Yamaha is willing to make, so as each day passes without Crutchlow accepting the Japanese factory’s one-year proposal, the less likely it seems he will be staying to partner Spaniard Pol Espargaro.
Ducati is putting in a huge effort to try and tempt Crutchlow onto a struggling factory Desmosedici, while rumours that he could be in line for a shock switch to the LCR Honda squad are continuing to pick up serious momentum.
Honda has still not exercised an option on Stefan Bradl’s contract to keep him in Lucio Cecchinello’s squad, which needs to be taken up by the end of July.
If Honda do indeed win the race to sign Crutchlow, then Bradl is likely to be Ducati bound given his German nationality and attractiveness to Audi, which owns the Bologna factory.
Crutchlow once again reiterated in California that he felt the Yamaha offer wasn’t good enough after he scored four podiums in eight races and also took one pole position on the satellite YZR-M1.
He told MCN: “At the moment the option they (Yamaha) have given me is not good enough so I will wait some more time. It is clear that the option is not as strong as some of the others. I don’t believe the deal they offered me is justified. I believe I am worth a lot more to them and not just on the basis of the salary. I am talking in general in terms of publicity and fighting for the championship. I am talking about the whole package like the bike, the contract length and the salary.”
Asked by MCN whether the option to join LCR Honda was a serious one and not just talk, Crutchlow added: “Who said there was an option with Honda? We are talking to everybody and whether that is a strong option I don’t know. I don’t know how far Bob (Moore – Crutchlow’s manager) is down the line with them but I haven’t seen a press release saying Bradl’s re-signed at the moment. I believe I am in a strong position though. I think everybody wants it wrapped up by Indianapolis but it is not that easy. I am happy to wait but it won’t be too long.”