19 October 2014
MotoGP Australia: 'Devastated' Crutchlow falls from podium on final lap
"I'm really devastated because it shows that we're riding really well and that the Ducati team is working really well, but you have to make it to the finish" - Cal Crutchlow.
Cal Crutchlow fell from second position on the very last lap of Sunday's Australian MotoGP and afterwards the Englishman insisted there was nothing he could have done to avoid the crash.
Using the asymmetric soft - rather than the extra soft - front tyre, Crutchlow fell in rapidly cooling conditions that saw the air temperature drop by nine degrees during the race.
Crutchlow felt that even if he had cruised to the end the result would have been the same, such was the knife-edge of running the harder asymmetric compound rubber, citing the example of Pol Espargaro's almost identical accident a few laps earlier.
"I had to keep pushing and I felt fine, I didn't do anything differently, but I had to keep pushing because if I didn't I would have crashed anyway," said Crutchlow. "The lap before Pol Espargaro crashed and almost all the riders that used the '35' [asymmetric] tyre all crashed.
"I'm really devastated because it shows that we're riding really well and that the Ducati team is working really well, but you have to make it to the finish. I made a mistake and didn't finish the race, it's as simple as that, but I don't believe that it was my mistake."
Having claimed his first Ducati podium in the mixed conditions of Aragon, this was Crutchlow's strongest weekend of the season with a front row start and impressive pace throughout the weekend on the original GP14.
When asked how it felt to have crashed his first thoughts were with his team and the efforts that have been put in to get him back up to speed in recent weeks:
"I'm really disappointed for Ducati and my team because we worked hard all weekend and I rode well throughout the race. It was a very easy race for me, I just looked at my pitboard and was making sure to finish the race, but we had some problems with the front tyre over the weekend. I saw Marc crash, I saw Pol had crashed and then I crashed.
"We all were using the hard [asymmetric] front tyre and we've seen how many people have crashed this weekend. The temperature dropped nine degrees during the race and I never made it to the finish. I'm disappointed to crash on the last lap, it looks like I made a silly mistake but I had to keep pushing because I had no heat in the front tyre and if I didn't push I would have crashed anyway."
It was an incident-packed race for Crutchlow as he came back through the pack from a first corner incident with Andrea Iannone before battling through to run the majority of the race in fourth position:
"We worked well all weekend and I rode well during the race. Crazy Joe [Iannone] rammed me in the first corner and nearly broke my let, then he rammed Pedrosa and nearly broke his leg as well, so I was angry to lose seven places on the first lap.
"I managed to pass the other guys and got through to fourth and I was pleased with my pace and pleased to be riding away from the group behind. I just rode to my pitboard and to the gap in front and I was confident that if I had a better first lap that I could have gone with Valentino and Lorenzo."
While the decision to run the asymmetric tyre in the race left Crutchlow susceptible to losing temperature in cooling conditions the alternative of running the extra soft tyre, as used by Jorge Lorenzo, left him feeling that he wouldn't have been able to maintain tyre life throughout the race.
"I was happy with my pace and I really believed that one of the riders in front of me would come back to me because I thought that they'd have the front tyre problem with the 31 [extra soft], this was the reason that I didn't use the 31 in the race.
"In the test I did 17 laps with it and I destroyed the tyre, the same as Lorenzo and Valentino, and today Lorenzo came backwards like a stone because of this. That was why I choose the 35 [asymmetric], it was just to finish the race.
"I really didn't know what happened to me, at one point I thought that someone had set off a bomb and I'd been blown off the bike but you can look at how many riders crashed this weekend at the same point."
Crutchlow has two more races with Ducati before moving to LCR Honda for 2015.
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