MCN's MotoGP rider of the year: 3rd Cal Crutchlow

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MCN’s Sports Desk rank the five riders who have impressed them most in the MotoGP World Championship during the 2017 season.

3rd – Cal Crutchlow

  • Best result: 1st
  • Wins: 2
  • Podiums: 4
  • Championship position: 7th

When Cal Crutchlow took a tyre gamble and pulled an incredible Czech Grand Prix out of the bag at Brno, it looked like the culmination of a long and sometimes testing MotoGP career for the best British racer in the premiere class since Barry Sheene.

But when he backed it up, first with a stunning second place in front of home crowds at Silverstone by forcing an error from Marc Marquez and holding off Valentino Rossi and then taking a dominating win at Phillip Island ahead of the same pair, Crutchlow made a statement that won’t be soon forgotten.

Wet weather wins never carry quite the same weight as a dry victory, and while Crutchlow’s Brno success was impressive, there were many naysayers who refused to accept that the Coventry native’s heaps of self confidence might actually be backed up by a rather special talent.

That’s why the entire second half of the season, when podium finishes became the norm instead of the exception for the LCR Honda rider, was so important not only in cementing his place in the MotoGP paddock but in the history books as well.

And while he might have had a strong end to 2016, it didn’t come easy for him as he struggled to find any results at all in the first half of the year on the difficult-to-ride Honda RCV213 machine. Crashing out week after week, even his future in the series was called into doubt – and its proof of just how strong his self belief is that he managed to claw his way to the top at all.

And while the rather unique weather, tyre and electronic issues of 2016 might not be repeated next year, there’s every chance that Crutchlow will be able to extend that win record even further. Happier with the new bike than the old one and finally getting some of the extra factory support he’s been crying out for, Crutchlow will be a regular fly in the alien ointment come the start of the season.

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Simon Patterson

By Simon Patterson

MotoGP and road racing reporter, photographer, videographer