Cal Crutchlow responded to a question about maximum braking distances in MotoGP now being 300 metres, or three times the size of a football pitch, with a stat of his own.

"I can tell you it doesn't feel like three times a football field!" began the factory Ducati rider, speaking in the Catalunya paddock on the eve of this weekend's grand prix. "It's incredible the speeds we are going now. We know we are braking at the limit of the machines, the tyres and the riders.

"But the worse thing is, to give you a statistic, for the whole time we brake we hold our breath. So up to 300 metres and you can imagine how many times a lap we brake."

Crutchlow explained: "It's the natural thing to do - you're shitting yourself that you're not going to stop! It's the only thing that makes a rider's heart rate increase a lot on the motorbike. You tense everything on your body to stop.

"If anybody says they breathe when they brake, I can guarantee they don't. So when you go into a corner it's like taking your first breath again. But the problem is with 15 corners on a track - you are holding your breath for a long time each lap. So I'm glad the 300 metres goes fast or we'd have no breath left!"

Fellow Ducati rider Andrea Iannone set a new MotoGP top speed record of 349.6km/h (217.2mph) last time out at Mugello.

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