Cal Crutchlow's first Italian MotoGP as a Ducati rider came to an early end when he fell from eighth place, his Desmosedici then clipping the rear wheel of an unlucky Stefan Bradl.
Crutchlow, who made a great start from the second row, later revealed he had struggled with the handling of his bike from the opening corner of the race.
"From the first three corners of the race I had no feeling with the front and as soon as I opened the gas I lost the front," said Crutchlow, who had qualified a season-best sixth. "I had a moment when Pedrosa came past and every time I opened the gas in the corner it was like understeer, but it wasn't [normal] understeer that runs us wide it was the front tyre tucking under. It was a really strange feeling, not like understeer, but more like there was something wrong."
That handling in-balance left Crutchlow commenting that he was surprised his race lasted as long as it did, before the third lap fall through one of Mugello's many fast chicanes. While Crutchlow scrambled to safety, his Desmosedici slid back across the track and into Bradl, knocking the German into a highside.
"I'm so sorry for Stefan," continued Crutchlow. "Having seen his crash this morning and then making a big effort to make the race it was unfortunate that he got taken out by my bike.
“It was a scary moment because I couldn't get up. I had my arm trapped under my body and there were 15 bikes coming towards me. I didn't know which way to go and the second guy of each pair couldn't see me. The first guy would move [to avoid me] and the second guy would be coming towards me.
"I went straight up to Stefan and apologised. He was sore because he's taken two big whacks today so I was sorry for him. I made a joke with him saying, 'If you were ahead of me you wouldn't have had a problem,' and he was laughing so I knew that he was ok.
“I went to his team and apologised as well because to have one rider in a team and have that rider be out wastes their whole weekend, because I crashed my bike. I'm sure that he'd do the same for me."
Afterwards Bradl, who also suffered a huge highside during morning warm-up, spoke to Crash.net
about the incident and his physical condition.
"I am ok but of course my body isn't feeling great right now but I'm happy that everything is in place and that I have no broken bones," said Bradl. "I saw Cal's bike but I didn't have enough time to avoid it. I reacted and tried to go wide but the bike is coming with a lot of speed and I had no chance.
“In a very short time I had to react and I tried to lift the bike up and go the long way around, but it wasn't enough and his bike hit me on the back wheel and I landed on my bike quite hard. It wasn't Cal's fault, he didn't want to crash, and it was unlucky for him. I accepted his apology and it was a normal racing accident."