British rider Cal Crutchlow may well be the hottest property left available in this year’s MotoGP silly season, as speculation increases about where the Argentine Grand Prix winner will end up when the music stops.
Already signed up to Honda in the second year of a deal that leaves him out of sync with the factory teams, he’s made no secret about the fact that he’d expect a call-up if Dani Pedrosa were to leave the Repsol Honda squad at the end of the season. Making a strong case for himself so far this year and currently 20 points ahead of Pedrosa in the championship standings after only three races, the Brit is in the best position he could be.
Pedrosa undoubtedly won himself kudos with the factory after a heroic ride to seventh place in Austin only a week after undergoing surgery for a broken wrist while Crutchlow crashed out of contention. But while that ride might have impressed, it’s believed that he has until the fifth round of the championship in Le Mans later this month to prove to Honda bosses that he’s still deserving of his seat after 13 years.
But while Crutchlow might be eyeing up a move up the Honda ranks, there could also be others searching for his signature for next year. Rumoured to be in talks with Suzuki before the Lorenzo deal looked to fall into place, he could also be on the wish list to replace the Spaniard at Ducati.
Parting with the factory Italian team after only one season back in 2014, he nonetheless left on good terms, particularly with team boss and fellow former World Superbike racer Davide Tardozzi. And while he might be currently tied into a contract with Honda, contracts can be broken – as Crutchlow demonstrated back in 2014 when he left Ducati a year early to make the move to LCR.
Should he move away from Lucio Cecchinello’s squad next year, it also opens up the possibility for the former racer securing an Italian replacement for Crutchlow, with both Danilo Petrucci and Andrea Iannone possible contenders to join Takaaki Nakagami.