26 June 2014
Assen MotoGP: Crutchlow 'A lot of unexplained things'
“There are a lot of unexplained things in the data" - Cal Crutchlow.
After another 'tough day', Cal Crutchlow gave an insight into one of the unexplained puzzles he and Ducati are trying to solve.
The Englishman, who concluded day one of the Dutch MotoGP at Assen just 13th fastest and 1.8s from the top, said: “There are a lot of unexplained things in the data - things that even the team can't explain.
“One big thing is the lean angle of me on the bike. Dovi and Iannone have 4-5 degrees more lean angle than me in every single corner.
“We can see we are at the limit with 4-5 degrees less angle. I can't lean the bike any more or else I'm on the floor. That has been the case in every single corner of every lap, all year. We can't explain it.
“Last year [at Tech 3 Yamaha] I was one degree less than Lorenzo and one degree more than Vale in most corners.
“We've researched this so much... It looks, even on the TV, that we are riding on eggshells compared to the other Ducati riders - with 4-5 degrees less lean angle. It should be the opposite.
“We can see it on the data but we have no explanation for it. No matter what setting we put in the bike: If I said I want everything like Andrea, or Valentino in the past, or Nicky last year it'd be exactly the same.”
Crutchlow insisted that it wasn't a riding style issue.
“Even when we are stronger [than Dovi] in some corners, there is still the difference in lean angle and we are more at the limit before them.
“But this is what makes racing good. We have to have challenges and we have to try and come out the other side better. When we improve and do well it'll make the rewards a lot better.”
Having scored just 15 out of a potential 175 points so far this year, following a string of technical issues and a hand injury at Austin, Crutchlow admitted that his move to Ducati has certainly been a challenge.
“I've never ridden a bike so hard in my whole career and got no results,” said the former World Supersport champion. “I think that's clear to see. I'm not saying anything unreasonable. But I also think there have been six or seven riders, with different riding styles, and the result is normally the same in the first year [at Ducati].
“The lap time of the guys in their first year at Ducati, we are better than them, but the competition in MotoGP is so high that it makes us look average and too far away. In the second year they make a massive improvement and take one second from the year before. Maybe it's just a matter of time on the bike.
“For all the guys in their first year at Ducati there was never a quick fix. It was never one race they were 15th and the next on the podium. They were always around the same position, it's just that now there are a lot of good riders on good bikes and the competition is really tough.”
Those words fuelled further questions regarding Crutchlow's Ducati option for 2015, which it is thought he must decide upon during the summer break.
“In all honestly, thinking about options for next year, I have no other thought but racing the bike now,” declared Crutchlow, among the long list of riders being linked with Suzuki's MotoGP return. “It makes zero difference what is on the table, what is off the table. My priority is to be at the front with Ducati.
“We're in it together. My plan when I came here was to win and at the moment it's not happening. That's just the situation. You have some good years and some bad years. I've not said anything about going anyway else and Ducati have not announced that I'm doing otherwise. So we're looking forward to the future.
“I'm not interested in any other manufacturer, any other riders. We are focussed on ourselves.”
Crutchlow was riding with a revised setting from the Barcelona test during day one in Holland.
“We continued with the setting from the Barcelona setting that was thought was the right direction for me after the test but here it is clear to see on the data that we are struggling in the same areas,” he admitted.
Pramac's Andrea Iannone was the top Ducati rider on Thursday, in sixth place, with Crutchlow's team-mate Andrea Dovizioso tenth quickest.
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