Up until halfway through last season, LCR was the MotoGP equivalent of Stoke City. Very much a mid-table outfit, never hugely in trouble, never going to fight for a title, just happy to be there.
Then Cal Crutchlow seemingly got bored of all that, and exploded. Two wins is the most the team has managed since Casey Stoner rode one on the way to second in the 2005 250CC championship.
So, will they build on it, or will they just simmer down to midtable again, watching Cal get more and more angry as the bike he’s on isn’t as good as him?
|Name||Honda RC213V nr. 35 Factory Spec|
|Engine||1000CC liquid-cooled, four-stroke, DOHC 4 valve, V-4|
|Brakes||Brembo 4-piston caliper carbon front, Brembo twin piston caliper, Yutaka steel back|
It’s in a similar vein to the Tech 3 Yamaha, in that it’s a factory spec bike, just without the winter R&D developments – they may come later in the year, if at all. It won’t be too dissimilar to the one underneath Marc Marquez, just without all the fancy frills.
As always though, the rider of the bike makes it.
|35 – Cal Crutchlow|
|Honours||1x British Supersport champion, 1x World Supersport champion|
|2016||7th, 141pts, LCR Honda|
In their solitary rider, they have one of the fastest and gnarliest people on the grid. A two time Supersport champion, he’s never been able to translate that into a consistently great season at the top level.
He has been good in MotoGP, but hasn’t had the bike to push him on – his best finish was on a Tech3, while his solitary season on a factory ride was when Ducati didn’t know if they were running a bike or a psychological experiment in testing the patience of their riders.
Before last year, he had the ego of a multiple world champion without the proof he could do it. A tactical masterstroke at Brno (running hard compound wets while everyone else was on softs) and a battle of nerves at Phillip Island later, and Cal is now a two-time race winner in the premier class. Whether he adds to that this year is more dependant on others rather than his own performance, but it won’t be for a lack of trying if he doesn’t.