15 June 2014
Catalunya MotoGP: Crutchlow calm as erratic engine ruins race
“I got caught up with Scott because I had no power coming out of a corner, then I had full acceleration and rode into the side of him ” - Cal Crutchlow.
Cal Crutchlow was forced out of the Catalunya MotoGP with a mysterious technical problem, his fourth non-finish of the season for Ducati.
Already facing a difficult race after qualifying 13th, the Englishman's engine began behaving erratically from the start.
“I'm obviously disappointed,” began Crutchlow. “Almost immediately I could feel in some corners I had not enough power and in other corners I had full power. Very similar to Qatar [when the bike's ECU got out of sync with his location on the race track].
“I felt a bit bad because I held Bradley [Smith] up early on, but I was there to race and at that stage I didn't understand what was going on. I had no warnings from the bike. We can get alarms on the dash and stuff like that as you know. I had nothing like that.
“So I continued to ride and then finally on lap ten the engine stopped with some red flashing lights on the dash. It stopped in the middle of a corner and I nearly crashed. I was also worried for the guys behind. At the moment we don't know what the problem was. We are still investigating.”
Shortly before his exit, a surge of power had sent Crutchlow into the side of Scott Redding.
“I got caught up with Scott because I had no power coming out of a corner, then I had full acceleration and rode into the side of him in the braking zone. So I apologise to him for that. I was actually trying to get out of his way. Two corners later the bike stopped.”
Crutchlow's latest woes follow the ECU problem on his way to tenth in Qatar, a tyre change (then hand-fracturing fall) in Austin, missing Argentina due to the hand injury, brake problems ending his comeback in Jerez, an eleventh place at Le Mans and a fall in Italy, due to suspected tyre pressure issues.
All of which means four DNFs, one DNS and just 15 points out of a possible 175.
“People are asking me why I'm not so angry and it's because this is racing,” said a calm Crutchlow. “It's nobody's fault. We've had bad luck and it's as simple as that. Last week I crashed the bike and this week I had a technical error.
“The only positive from today was that we were strong in braking.”
Crutchlow added: “If I don't laugh I'd cry. We've just had really bad luck. If we can see a chequered flag sometime soon I'll be pleased.
“I don't give up easily and I'll keep coming back and trying my best. I didn't feel well this weekend but I gave it 100%. It's what I always do and I know the team will as well. They are as annoyed and disappointed as me. We'll work together and come back stronger.”
Ducati Corse general manager Gigi Dall'Igna added: “Obviously we are very disappointed that once again Cal's bike had a problem during the race: it's something that should not happen. We are analysing all the data carefully to understand the true nature of the problem.”
His own race over, Crutchlow watched the thrilling battle for victory between Marc Marquez, Dani Pedrosa and Valentino Rossi.
“I'm not astonished because now we know the level of Marc, but clearly today Marc did not have the best package. He had a lot less grip than the other guys and he still won the race.
“It was disappointing for me to watch it in the garage after battling with those guys at places like Assen and Sachsenring last year, but it was a great race for MotoGP. The top three all gave great performances.”
16 seconds behind Marquez, Crutchlow's team-mate Andrea Dovizioso brought his Desmosedici home in eighth place.
“I am pleased with the pace that we managed to keep up for the entire race as well as the final gap, and this is the most important aspect from today," commented the Italian.
"For sure eighth place is not a great result in itself, but we were able to cut the gap by half from last year, in a race that was even faster.
"I fought it out with Pol Espargarò for almost the entire race, and we were separated by just a few thousandths of a second at the end. I think we obtained the best possible result this weekend.”
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