London - Less could be more for double MotoGP race winner Cal Crutchlow in 2017 as he tries to build on his breakthrough 2016 season by targeting what would be a momentous home triumph.

In August Honda privateer Crutchlow became the first British rider in 35 years, and first since the iconic Barry Sheene, to win in the premier category of Grand Prix motorcycle racing.

The man with the number 35 on his bike, who already had plenty to celebrate off-track with the birth of his daughter Willow, then added to a wet Czech victory with another in the dry in Australia.

Improving on those racing achievements in his seventh season in MotoGP will be a big ask, but the 31-year-old has something in mind.

"If you look at the statistics it's difficult because there were nine different race winners in 2016 - and those nine can win again," he said. 

"So there's nine races taken up. I don't think it's going to go like that, but it's possible. Then you have guys who are going to win more than one - I won two races last year and so did Valentino Rossi. And you have other factory guys who only won one race, so it's an absolute up-and-down lottery.


"It's not going to be easy to better last year because I had some great podiums; I had a good result at Silverstone with the home crowd," he added.

Winning the top class at the British Grand Prix, a feat not achieved by any home rider since 1976 when the Isle of Man TT constituted the country's championship round, would be as sensational as 2016's successes.

Crutchlow started on pole and came second at Silverstone in September, behind Spanish first-time winner Maverick Vinales on a Suzuki. The race was shortened to 19 laps after being red-flagged on the first lap.

"If I said there was one thing that I could better this year, it's maybe to win Silverstone," said Crutchlow before collecting the RAC's Torrens Trophy for outstanding motorcycle achievement.

Asked whether that would be more special than two wins elsewhere, he did not hesitate: "Oh yeah. Easy."

Except it will be anything but easy on a non-works machine that gives away two tenths of a second a lap to the factory bikes - a significant performance gap over 30 laps.

One win anywhere is already a massive achievement and accumulating more points this year than in 2016 looks more likely given that Crutchlow suffered a terrible start to 2016 before picking up the pace. He ended the season seventh overall - and top privateer - with 141 points.

The straight-talking Coventry-born racer is still hoping for more, of course.

"We all go into the season wanting and thinking we can win the title," he said. "If we didn't, there'd be no point to race.

"But I know how difficult it is on a satellite team. You have to be racing for a factory team to win the title as far as I'm concerned, in this day and era. I'll give it a shot and that's all you can do."

The 2017 MotoGP season will start with a night race in Qatar on 26 March; Crutchlow's target, the British Grand Prix, will be run on 27 August.

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