Cal Crutchlow has announced ahead of his home race at the British grand Prix that he has signed a one-year extension to his contract with Honda, adding a year to his current contract and keeping him with the Japanese manufacturer until 2020 at least.
The British rider has been out of sync with the other factory-contracted riders in recent years, typically finishing his deal in the lull year between typically two-year factory contracts. But, with his new extension, he now comes into line with the other riders – potentially making the jump to full factory rider for 2021 easier.
Crutchlow first moved from his LCR Honda deal to a HRC contract direct with Japan at the start of this season, taking on increased responsibilities for testing and development of the RC213V while also receiving more support from the manufacturer. And, with the new del tying him to Honda for two and a half more seasons, it seems that he’s set to build upon that relationship going forward.
Crutchlow has been a valuable part of HRC’s testing program in recent years thanks in part to his riding style. Similar on a bike to reigning champion and Repsol Honda rider Marc Marquez, Crutchlow is able to provide feedback and testing that the Spaniard’s current teammate Dani Pedrosa isn’t (thanks in large part to different riding styles and weights).
And that role will be just as crucial in 2019 when Jorge Lorenzo replaces Pedrosa on the factory bike, with Crutchlow likely to play an expanded role in development while Lorenzo adapts from Ducati to Honda.
That's something that HRC president Yoshishige Nomura alluded toosaying when the deal was announced: “We are happy to announce Cal’s contract extension. Last year we contracted with him for 2018 and 2019 as an HRC factory rider. This year he has again shown his strong talent and his performance deserves the status of factory rider. There is no better way to show him that than by making a new agreement with him, so we have decided to extend our contract. We’ve got to know Cal very well since he arrived at Honda in 2015. By hard work and by getting many good results he has contributed a lot to Honda and the LCR Honda MotoGP Team and he always gives us very useful feedback for the evolution of the RC213V.”