'Bad weekend' but Crutchlow praises marshals, fans
2 September 2013
Battered home hero Cal Crutchlow was bitterly disappointed not to have been able to reward the record 73,456 Silverstone crowd with a better result in Sunday's British MotoGP.
The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 star had been hospitalised on the Saturday at both previous home appearances - and had the British crowd holding their breath again after a massive 185mph fall at the start of day two at this year's event.
Despite a further practice fall, Crutchlow rallied to a front row place in qualifying - “with new tyres you can mask the problems” - but the lost set-up time and physical damage in the form of a deep right-arm abrasion meant he faced an uphill struggle.
Any chance of a last-gasp set-up breakthrough then disappeared with a third fall in the chilly morning warm-up, and the Englishman was left to claim a subdued seventh in the race.
“What went wrong was I crashed on Saturday morning and we were too indecisive with which fuel tank to use. But ultimately I didn't perform and no excuses,” said Crutchlow. “I had a bad weekend, crashed and my arm is a f**king mess. I'm going to see tomorrow morning about getting it operated on because there is too much fluid in it.
“The arm is over twice the size it should be. It needs draining. As soon as I hit the grass yesterday something 'exploded' in my arm.
“The swelling and lack of strength meant I wasn't able to brake how I wanted to in the race. I was just riding around badly, out of breath, no bike set-up and was just happy to finish. And that's not like me at all. I know I can go fast around here but I just never got it done this weekend.
“Thanks to the team because, f**k, they've been through some shit this weekend. Luckily Bradley [team-mate] rode well over the weekend and never crashed. If he had crashed it would have been a disaster. The bike I went to the grid on was absolutely covered in gravel rash, because we've got no parts.
“That's just the way it goes. I can't thank the team enough for building me bikes fast enough to get me out on the grid. I tried my best, tried my hardest and the overall race time was a lot faster than when I finished sixth last year.
“It was just that the pace this year was ridiculous. I'm sure Valentino will think the same about Jorge, we can't understand how they are going so fast. To do a 2m 1s [Marquez] on the last lap...
“We need to go away from here, see what I need to do about my arm and regroup before Misano.
“But for sure I'm pissed off. I should have done better this weekend. We finished seventh because I crashed on Saturday morning and we lost too much time.”
Whilst critical of his own performance, Crutchlow had nothing but praise for the British fans and marshals.
Moments after Crutchlow fell in warm-up, title leader Marc Marquez lost control in exactly the same place. Marquez's Honda was sent skipping across the gravel, straight towards Crutchlow and the marshals about to retrieve his M1.
Fortunately another marshal was keeping watch and able to warn them of the danger. Crutchlow and the marshals around him leapt clear just before Marquez's Honda smashed into, and over, the stricken Yamaha.
“A lot of marshals around the world could learn from that example, because they had one guy watching the track while the others were picking the bike up,” explained Crutchlow. “I've never known that - and if it wasn't for that four guys would have been hammered, possibly including me. So they did a great job.
“It shows how dangerous it is, but my first concern afterwards was that Marc was ok, because you could see he was holding his shoulder.”
Marquez was later diagnosed with a dislocated shoulder - but still almost won the race - and received two 'Penalty Points' for not slowing down when the yellow flags were waved for Crutchlow's incident.
Marquez said he hadn't seen the flags, while Crutchlow was adamant that just because Marquez fell where flags were being waved didn't automatically mean he been reckless. “I don't believe he should have been penalised - he could have fallen even if he was going slower and not loaded the front enough,” Crutchlow said.
In addition to the huge race day crowd, 53,250 fans were present for qualifying and 32,300 for Friday practice, making a weekend total of 159,006. Crutchlow was disappointed not to be able to reward them with a podium, or even a first win, but was pleased that the home fans were able to see countryman Scott Redding win the Moto2 race. He also gave credit to his rookie team-mate Bradley Smith for a ninth place finish after a mistake free weekend.
“Bradley rode well and congratulations to Scott. It must be amazing to take a home grand prix win. The guys did the Brits proud. No doubt about it. The fans were amazing. I finished seventh and the fans were still clapping and cheering me, which is nice because it shows they know I've had three big crashes and didn't give up. I'm glad the other guys put on a bit of a show for them!
“I could see a lot of support was for me so obviously I'm disappointed not to have a podium or even the win, but I'm a realist and we're a long way from a win at the moment.”
Crutchlow now plans to get back to basics and enjoy riding once again at the forthcoming Misano round.
“We've lost our way with the fuel tanks a bit, lost the feeling with the bike. I also think other teams have evolved. Honda have found something and Yamaha as well. So we'll be looking at Misano to get back where we were,” he explained.
“I went from being one-second off a race win at Sachsenring and four-seconds at Assen to finishing 20 seconds behind. For no obvious reason.
“For Misano I'm just going to let the team sort out the bike and just ride it and have fun. I had a bad race at Laguna and Indy, a shit race at Brno and a bad race here. We need to get back to enjoying riding and being competitive.
“We also need to sit down and discuss some things with Bridgestone because there were far too many crashes in MotoGP again this weekend, for no obvious reason.”