Cal Crutchlow is confident he can recapture the form that saw him become a consistent podium threat in MotoGP when the new season gets underway in Qatar on March 29.
After a difficult season with Ducati in 2014, Crutchlow will ride a factory-backed Honda RC213V for the LCR Honda squad this year.
And the 29-year-old, who is currently on a winter training camp in California, believes he can threaten the likes of Marc Marquez, Valentino Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa for the podium in 2015.
Crutchlow’s last season with the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team in 2013 saw him become the most successful British rider in the premier class since late legend Barry Sheene.
He scored four podiums and two pole positions on a satellite YZR-M1 and was the best non-factory rider in the world championship rankings.
The former World Supersport scored just one podium in a tough season at Ducati when he finished third in the flag-to-flag Motorland Aragon clash.
Despite not finishing any of the triple-header flyaway races in Japan, Australia and Malaysia, Crutchlow showed speed at all three to show he could be competitive on the Desmosedici machine.
At Phillip Island he came within eight corners of a stunning second place before a final lap crash.
But his promising pace in the final stages of the season restored Crutchlow’s confidence that he can be a big podium threat in 2015.
And speaking exclusively to MCN, Crutchlow said: “I feel I am fast enough to be competitive at the front again. I am not saying I am going to win every race or be on the podium in every race but I believe I will be able to challenge and at least be back where I was in 2013. The minimum I have to do is similar to 2013. It was nice to build up some confidence in the last few races of last year and to take it into 2015. It was important for everybody to see that I still have the speed. I knew I had the speed but people just think you wake up one morning and you can’t race a motorcycle like you once could. That doesn’t happen. And even when I knew I was leaving Ducati earlier in the season I wasn’t just turning up to race. I was still giving 100% but at that time I never had the feeling I wanted. I was struggling with my confidence and struggling to understand but I showed what I am capable in Phillip Island. It is going to be another learning curve but hopefully a faster one than I had last season! I never doubted I still had the speed. You don’t just lose speed overnight but it was just a case of when I was going to get it back.”