PROGRAMMING NOTE: The Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix will air LIVE on FOX Sports 1 on Sunday, Aug. 18 in a four-hour programming block that starts at 11 am ET.
Cal Crutchlow says he simply had no other choice but to accept the biggest payday of his career to become the latest ‘savior’ for Ducati’s troubled Desmosedici MotoGP project.
A two-year deal that will secure his financial future and a contract that guarantees his status as factory rider proved irresistible to the 27-year-old Briton.
Crutchlow returns to racing after the summer break for the Indianapolis Grand Prix this Sunday secure in the knowledge that from 2014 he is a full factory rider. It is something he wanted from Yamaha, who were unwilling to match Ducati’s dollars and factory level bikes and technical support.
Crutchlow will complete the nine races remaining this season with the Monster Tech3 Yamaha team.
“We negotiated a very good contract and there are some very good things on my part that we managed to make happen with Ducati, and I am pleased with that but I see it as a future thing," Crutchlow said.
"I just felt that Yamaha didn’t want me and that was clear.
"They said all the time they wanted me but I felt they got themselves in a situation where I was hammering out good results and people kept asking Yamaha why were they letting me go?"
Yamaha has world champions Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi under contract for 2014 and clearly hope the both riders will agree to extend their contracts into 2015.
Crutchlow says he is "not scared" by the prospect of riding the wayward Desmosedici that only Australian ace Casey Stoner has been able to tame. But he admits it will be the biggest challenge of his career.
"The bike is obviously more difficult than the rest but I am looking forward to the challenge," Crutchlow said. "The bike has won before with Casey riding it. And I know he was the only one to challenge every week on it but it also won with Loris Capirossi and Troy Bayliss.
"The bike needs to definitely change by the end of this season but I am really excited that I was wanted so much by a manufacturer like Ducati. I believe they will turn it around and there is no reason at all why I can’t be competitive.
"I will give it 100% and I believe my 100 percent will be good enough to challenge at the front in the future."
A full factory contract was crucial to Crutchlow who was unable to secure a guarantee from Yamaha for factory bikes as part of an upgraded offer to remain at the satellite Tech3 team.
The seeming lack of real enthusiasm by Yamaha to retain Crutchlow despite a string of podium results this season has surprised many in MotoGP.
"What they (Yamaha) were proposing was nothing like a factory rider should get and they wouldn’t commit to the machinery. I am very happy with my decision," Crutchlow said.
Still the break from the close-knit Tech3 squad will be a wrench for both parties.
"It is thanks to Tech3 that I became a factory rider so I have a lot to be grateful to them for," Crutchlow said. "To tell Herve Poncharal that I was leaving was a horrible feeling. He wanted me to stay but he understands the reasons."
Crutchlow’s inexhaustible motivation and often aggressive style plus his easy-going connection with a huge fan base made him number one on Ducati’s list.
“We think Cal is the rider in term of riding style and his character that could be a good Ducati rider," said Ducati race boss Paolo Ciabatti. "Cal has all the features that fit into being an ideal Ducati rider in terms of charisma and riding style."