Cal Crutchlow Signs On For Two More Years With LCR Honda

Yesterday, it was Bradley Smith, today it is Cal Crutchlow. On Wednesday, the LCR Honda team announced that Cal Crutchlow will be riding with the team for two more seasons. The deal will see Crutchlow staying with LCR for 2016, giving him an option to stay on for 2017 as well.

Crutchlow's deal has been a long time coming. Talks were started as early as Barcelona, with Crutchlow looking for a two-year extension with LCR. Honda were keen to keep Crutchlow within the ranks, as the Englishman has been able to provide valuable feedback to HRC for the RC213V. With Honda having taken a wrong path for this season, having an extra rider to provide development input has been important. Crutchlow's results have been solid this year, including a podium at Argentina, though he has also found himself in the gravel a number of times.

There had been a brief flirtation with Pramac Ducati, Crutchlow entering talks with the satellite Ducati team about racing for the Italian factory once again. This, however, appears to have been more of a bargaining chip to use with Honda, rather than a serious attempt to return to the fold at Bologna. 

The announcement from LCR also contains the first public acknowledgement that the team's sponsorship deal with CWM is at an end. It has been a troubled relationship from the start, with London's City Police raiding CWM's offices in London on suspicion of fraud back in April, and company boss Anthony Constantinou having been charged on multiple counts of sexual assault. CWM had already paid most of the sponsorship money owed to LCR, but after failing to pay the final instalment, believed to be over €1 million, the sponsorship contract was terminated. From Silverstone, CWM will disappear from the bikes, LCR returning to their previous system of rotating title sponsors each event. This weekend, it is Givi on the bike.

Crutchlow's signing with LCR does not mean the end of Jack Miller's slot with the team. Sources close to the team are confident that LCR will be able to continue to run two bikes in 2016, with Miller on the second machine.

With Crutchlow and Smith now signed up ahead of Silverstone, the question is whether more British riders will announce their futures this weekend. Danny Kent had been linked to the Pramac Ducati ride at Brno, but since then, the Moto3 championship leader has had competition from Scott Redding, who has struggled with the Honda RC213V and has happy memories of testing the Desmosedici. Sam Lowes has a precontract with Aprilia, though there have been some suggestions that Aprilia may be looking elsewhere. Kent, Redding and Lowes are less likely to make their announcement at Silverstone, as talks for Kent and Redding are still at an early stage, and Aprilia are more likely to wait until their home GP at Misano to make an announcement. Moto3 rider John McPhee is still in early talks with a number of Moto3 teams.

Below is the press release from LCR on the Crutchlow deal:


LCR Honda is pleased to announce that the British rider Cal Crutchlow will extend his cooperation with Honda HRC and the LCR Team managed by Lucio Cecchinello for the 2016 season, with a further option for 2017.

Based on the Isle of Man, 29 year-old Crutchlow has so far claimed 74 points this season on board the factory-spec Honda RC213V, including a stunning podium finish at the Grand Prix of Argentina.

LCR is also pleased to announce that GIVI (a long-term partner of the LCR Honda Team) will be the Title Sponsor on Crutchlow's Honda RC213V at his home race, the British Grand Prix, at Silverstone this weekend.

Lucio Cecchinello (Team Principal):”I am happy to announce the extension of our cooperation with Cal, who is one of the most talented riders in the whole MotoGP field. He has got the skills and the potential to battle with the top riders and fight for the podium spots, as he demonstrated in Argentina earlier this season. Cal is extremely professional and during the season we have built up a great rapport. it's a pleasure to be working with Cal again in 2016 and I look forward to the years to come"

Cal Crutchlow: "I am very happy to continue my relationship with LCR for 2016 and 2017. Lucio has a fantastic team and I look forward to growing further with them and with Honda. We started the season well and I believe we can score some great results in the rest of this year and in the season to come."

LCR Honda Team would like to sincerely thank CWM for their support.

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I am surprised that Aprilia does not seem to show interest in keeping Bradl for next year. Bradl has got speed and experience, and him pairing Bautista would place the team on a pretty solid stead, rider-wise, on their first year with a prototype that will surely need a lot of development. Nothing wrong with Sam Lowes at all, on the contrary, but at this stage, an experienced rider like Bradl would make more sense than a rookie. Any insights, David?

Simple! You didn't pay up, u got it for free, you just don't see the value. Bradl is a golden opportunity for Aprilia. It's just that Aprilia is taking things for granted..

They are developing their bikes, and would like to see both sides of the coin, so they want an experienced older rider like Alvaro, and a relentless young gun like Sam.

Suzuki did basically the same thing by pairing Aleix with Vinales.

For them to keep Bradl is something that they would only really benefit from if they sacked Alvaro.

They both have basically the same experience, plus Bradl's year with Forward Yamaha, which always was a third tier bike so the information, apart from the characteristics of the Yamaha engine, are not that valuable.

Or that is my estimate, at least.

Unlike Smith, it seems Crutchlow doesn't anticipate a call from one of the big boys offering a full factory ride for 2017. Unless of course, he expects them to buy out his LCR contract.
Who knows? Past history has shown these contracts can be torn into tiny pieces and tossed to the wind for the right amount of greenbacks. Just ask CC himself.

"The deal will see Crutchlow staying with LCR for 2016, giving him an option to stay on for 2017 as well."

I interpret that as saying if he gets a better offer for 2017, he can leave. Same as he had with Ducati, although that one became messy.

Of additional 20 pages of clauses in his 10 page contracts. Whoever is his manager, is a genius and master haggler. Just don't be surprised if Cal rides for 3 different teams in a single season, stuff happens.

He's clearly got the speed but perhaps he needs to learn from Bradley and learn how not to fall off all the time. A little consistency would help a lot.

How this guy keeps getting 2 year deals is beyond me. Whats the logic? That bike aint gonna change much from this year to next. Sure, it will get a little softer, a bit smoother possibly but its a Honda, point in, massive late breaking, shoot out. Thats the DNA. This is not Cals game no matter how many times he says it is. His bank account keeps moving the decimal point over to the right however. Nice work lad.

My guess is that Honda needs Cal because they want a rider that is best of the rest to tell them the way that the bike development has been going.

By best of the rest I mean he's pretty much the only one to keep with the aliens in the past few years, mainly 2013 (bar Ben Spies and Andrea Dovizioso), so Honda knows that he's a rider that can score podiums, and sometimes fight with the top guys, but they also know that he is not an alien and cannot ride around problems. So for Honda, getting Cal to perform properly probably means that they have a solid bike.

Might sound harsh, but I think Cal to Honda now is what Gresini was to Honda back in the days of Nissin/ Showa testing, this time only, it's the standard package that get's the testing.