British rider Cal Crutchlow is confident he is ready to pose a consistent podium threat in the 2013 MotoGP world championship.
The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider appeared relaxed and confident as he chatted to the media in the Losail International Circuit paddock in Qatar earlier today ahead of the start of his third season in MotoGP.
The former World Supersport champion scored two rostrum finishes in 2012 with a third in Brno and Phillip Island but a series of impressive winter testing performances have raised hopes of a stronger and more consistent challenge for the top three this year.
Crutchlow arrived in the Middle East brimming with confidence after topping the timesheets in the final test session in Jerez last month and he is bullish about his prospects of challenging the likes of Jorge Lorenzo, Dani Pedrosa, Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo in 2013.
The 27-year-old said: “I really don't know what to expect because it will be a lot more difficult to be on the podium this year. I like the challenge and I feel ready for it. Am I going to win a race though? I don’t know. It is a question everybody wants to know the answer to but I am not interested in that.
I’m not expected to win a race but I am expected to battle with the guys I was battling with last year and if I can make a step up on last year I’ll be happy. If I have a bad race and I am in seventh position then I’d rather finish seventh that put it on its nose.”
Crutchlow said his main goal this season will be to cut the deficit over a race distance to the front-runners and ahead of Sunday’s night race in Qatar he added: “In some races I was close enough anyway and in some races I beat the factory guys. I’d like to be a little closer to Lorenzo and Pedrosa.
They are going to go to faster so I need to go faster but a little bit more. If instead of finishing 15 seconds behind them, if I was closer than that I would see that as a good achievement.”
Crutchlow also said a big target for 2013 is to add to the two podiums he scored in the second half of last season.
He added: “If I don’t get a couple of rostrums then I’ll be going back to BSB. It will be more difficult to be on the podium but I know where I need to work and I know the area where I want to improve myself and that’s in the first five laps.
I’ve got to be realistic about our goals because of the machinery I am on as well. I aim to start the season strong but whether that’s winning the race or finishing fifth or sixth I don’t know.”
For exclusive reaction from Crutchlow to the season opening race in Qatar, see the April 10 issue of MCN.