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“IF IT HURTS, I WANT IT TO HURT MORE” | In this issue | MotoGP

Cal Crutchlow is impatient for his 10th MotoGP season to get underway. In the meantime, he talks about racing salaries, about getting fat and why he’s changed his mind about retiring

We conducted this interview in Cal Crutchlow’s office inside the LCR Honda garage in Sepang’s pit lane. It sounds glamorous, but really it isn’t. The tiny space feels more like a police interrogation cell than a MotoGP star’s paddock sanctuary. Paint peels from the walls and apart from a table and chair the only furniture is a manky old sofa, like you might find in a crack den. The weather is typically tropical – 34 degrees outside – so Crutchlow is sprawled across the sofa wearing nothing more than underpants and some recently acquired tattoos.

The 2020 season – if it ever happens – will be Crutchlow’s 10th in the premier-class of motorcycle racing. The man from Coventry hasn’t won a MotoGP world championship but he is the only Briton to have won a premier-class grand prix in the past 40 years. And the only Britons who have won more GPs than the 34-year-old are Mike Hailwood, Geoff Duke, Barry Sheene and Phil Read. That’s some seriously exalted company.

Crutchlow has made it this far through grim determination, a fearsome ability to shrug off pain and a blind refusal to admit defeat. He’s not the kind of guy with whom you’d want to have a fight.

“I like to suffer,” he says. “I have a hardness about me that if it hurts I want it to hurt more, which is the worst possible mentality you can have as a motorcycle racer, but it works for me.”

Our interview ends, Crutchlow pulls himself off the gungy sofa and hobbles to the other side room where he climbs into his warrior’s armour: helmet, leathers, gloves, boots and chest and back protectors. His eyes change, from chatty bloke from Coventry to axe-wielding maniac. I say my thanks and leave…

Check out our interview with Cal in the current issue