John Hopkins is an event that brings riders – and off the track – together
The MotoGP season has come down to this and Cal Crutchlow’s response – and thankfully one that does the sport justice.
The Crutchlow of June is a man who has made the most of his opportunities and is doing everything possible to take the final step forward.
Crutchlow was an anonymous yet inspired rider at that World Championship race in Canada and was picked off late to finish fourth, winning the fans’ vote as the Most Popular Rider.
His reaction? He wore that fan in his heart on his sleeve. A winner in Canada, he now goes to Long Beach next weekend and it will be his biggest race since that finish in Montreal.
MotoGP Championship standings, with final race in Mexico on Sunday, 1. Maverick Vinales (Spa) Repsol Honda 250m2 + 0.115secs 2. Marc Marquez (Spa) Repsol Honda 250m3 + 0.267secs 3. Andrea Dovizioso (Ita) Honda +0.817secs 4. Cal Crutchlow (GB) Yamaha +1.379secs 5. Dani Pedrosa (Spa) Repsol Honda 250m1 +1.549secs 6. Jorge Lorenzo (Spa) Yamaha +1.723secs 7. Hector Barbera (Spa) Ducati +1.847secs 8. Valentino Rossi (Ita) Ducati +2.992secs 9. Andrea Iannone (Ita) Ducati +3.310secs 10. Johann Zarco (Fra) Aprilia +5.173secs
Fittingly, what happens at Long Beach could decide the Championship and the only way you can know for sure is to tune in.
Crutchlow has been at Long Beach for every race since he first raced in 2008, and is the only rider who has been there every year of his MotoGP career.
This year he competes in the bike’s World championship category in the 250cc category, the most exciting division in the sport and worth its own series.
As a result, the rider nicknamed John Hopkins is the MotoGP Weekend Rock-and-Roll Nearly Man, a series of Pimm’s Cups and a tribute to the great Italian film Viva Zapata!.
Crutchlow will have to put his personal life aside in order to focus on winning the MotoGP Championship. It is the position a man of Crutchlow’s character has to be in. It is a heady mix of rock-and-roll excess, which is one of the reasons he is such a talented rider.
Crutchlow’s racing is an integral part of who he is and allows him to bring all the extra experience that comes with being a rider into a full-time job. That is why it is so important the Pole does win a title.
Crutchlow will drive a BMW M4 GTi in the World Touring Car Championship next year
Likewise, in the world of cycling, where he has returned to an event of which he used to be very proud – the Tour of Britain – the young rider has turned it into something more.
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Although he is now a team member in the new Milram C64, it gives him a chance to keep the focus on the sport where it all began.
Crutchlow’s season has perhaps taken some twists and turns, but he has never allowed those to cloud his plans.
He still hopes to prove his worth in Austin next week and then go one better in Portland the week after. But he does not stop there.
Crutchlow plans to win at Catalunya, the one round where the Brit has not raced so far this season and has been outclassed in past seasons.
Catalunya is the perfect place for the 23-year-old and would be fitting for a title win and in a perfect year for Crutchlow that could be where he ends this epic season.
Watch the MotoGP World Championship on MotoGP TV, 01 September, 2100 BST, Sky Sports 1 and the Red Button.