Cal Crutchlow was the second-winningest Honda rider last season, with two victories, despite racing for the LCR Honda satellite team.
Crutchlow scored the first two victories of his MotoGP career for Lucio Cecchinello’s team in 2016, one more than factory Honda rider Dani Pedrosa.
That performance led Honda to provide more technical support to Crutchlow and LCR for the 2017 season. But Cecchinello reportedly would like Honda to pick up part of the tab for a contract extension for Crutchlow past this season, when his deal expires.
Honda isn’t buying, according to the manufacturer’s MotoGP chief, Livio Suppo.
“At this time, Honda does not plan to pay Crutchlow’s salary,” Suppo said. “We are very happy with him and it is true that in fact he won two races last year, but he also did it because he had factory support.
“Honda already makes an effort, because giving technical support to a rider means money.”
It’s believed that the majority of Crutchlow’s salary comes from energy drink sponsor Monster. Crutchlow is close with Monster CEO Rod Sacks and it’s believed that Crutchlow is on Sacks’ ‘keep him happy’ list.
However, it’s not unprecedented for a factory team to pay the salary of a satellite team rider. Yamaha pushed Colin Edwards II to the Tech 3 satellite team in 2008 to make room for a hotshot rookie named Jorge Lorenzo, but Edwards continued to collect a factory paycheck that season as a reward for his compliance and loyalty.