Crutchlow, a former World Supersport champion, came to MotoGP with Tech3 in 2011 and has spent the last three years with the French team and speaking to the media he spoke about the challenges of this weekend and the emotions that he is feeling at leaving the team:
“It’s not been easy to turn up at the last race and know that on Monday they’ll have a new rider and I’ll be somewhere else,” said Crutchlow. “It’s pretty shit really to go from a situation where it’s all I know. Herve, as everyone knows, is a friend as well as my team boss, don’t get me wrong he’s hard on me when he needs to be but it’s definitely difficult to say goodbye to all the guys. We’ve had a team meeting and it’s not easy.
” It’s a tough one but I’m excited to do something different. I didn’t want to ride my whole Grand Prix career in a satellite team, even though it’s a great team and we’ve been able to challenge the factories and be faster than Ducati, but I wanted to be a factory rider. It was the decision that we took and Herve agreed with me. It’s a weird feeling around the garage but it changes nothing. I’ve still got to race this weekend. We’ve got a job to do and try and get as good a result as possible.”
The move to Ducati gives Crutchlow the opportunity to lead the development of the bike as a factory rider. Given the struggles that the Italian team has had in recent years Crutchlow is under no illusions about the challenge that next year will present. Monday’s test session will be the first time that Crutchlow will ride the Ducati MotoGP machine but other than trying to get comfortable on the bike and integrate with the team there is little of value to be gained during the test:
“I’m testing on Monday. We’ve got some things to test and the plan is to have one of this year’s bikes to do normal laps on and then they’ll bring in another bike. As far as I’m aware it’s not drastically different. I don’t think that we’ll need to test all three days that’s for sure. But I’ll do some laps on both bikes on Monday. It’s not going to be a big test or a test where I have to go fast. I’ll be getting used to riding the Ducati.
“We know some things are different to what I have with the Yamaha so we’ll start to work on that. We fully understand that there’s not going to be anything new for this test but Sepang will be completely different. I’ll just be getting used to the bike. I’ve never ridden a Ducati in anger and it will be a different feel. I’m excited and looking forward to something new but I don’t, and they don’t, expect anything amazing.”