Cal Crutchlow reckons Jorge Lorenzo has found another level in the 2013 MotoGP season and only his talent is keeping Yamaha in the hunt.
Lorenzo halted Marc Marquez and Honda’s run of victories with a spectacular last-gasp British Grand Prix triumph last weekend.
Fellow Yamaha riders Crutchlow, Valentino Rossi and Bradley Smith have not been able to fight with Honda duo Marquez and Dani Pedrosa in recent races, leaving Crutchlow in awe of Lorenzo’s efforts.
“I think the difference between Yamaha and Honda at the moment is Jorge the rider,” said Crutchlow. “Honda have got better acceleration, better top speed, better drive off the corners, and now they’re better in the braking. Marc and Dani both ride completely differently so it shows how stable the bike is.
“You have to look at the general statistics over four or five years: Jorge has been the only consistently fast rider, consistently at the front at every race.
“A lot of us have and have had the same package, so I believe he is superior. He is not unbeatable, that’s for sure, but he has always got one step more than all the other Yamaha riders and that’s been clear for the past five years.
“I’m not stupid, I think Jorge at the minute is faster than me. I think you have to look at it realistically. He is on the same package essentially but he is still able to compete with the Hondas.”
Crutchlow acknowledged that Lorenzo’s team leader status meant Yamaha worked towards his riding style, but said that did not account for the whole margin.
“I think the bike has been built around Jorge for a start. Especially after Valentino left [at the end of 2011], I think it has gone more and more towards Jorge.
“Me and Valentino seem to ride then same, our brake pressures all look very similar, but we are always one step behind. We are always quite close but Jorge seems to have another level.
“There’s not really been any race this year where me or Valentino has been able to go toe to toe with Jorge.”
With six rounds left this season, Lorenzo is third in the championship, 39 points behind leader Marquez.
Crutchlow, who leaves Tech 3 Yamaha for Ducati at the end of the year, is fifth in the standings.