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MotoGP Qatar: Crutchlow plays down top satellite start, slams di Meglio

Cal Crutchlow fifth during first official session for LCR Honda - continues to battle brake issues, angry at di Meglio...
Cal Crutchlow certainly wasn't getting carried away after setting the fifth fastest lap time during opening practice for the Qatar MotoGP.

The Englishman's 1m 55.818s lap also made him the top satellite rider during his first official grand prix session for the LCR Honda team.

“Yeah, but I don't feel it means anything at the moment,” Crutchlow said afterwards.

The former Factory Ducati rider was half-a-second from Repsol Honda's reigning world champion Marc Marquez and just 0.15s from third fastest Aleix Espargaro. The Suzuki rider, like Danilo Petrucci and Yonny Hernandez in sixth and eighth, ran the special soft rear tyre not available to the factory class Honda and Yamaha riders.

“I don't really take too much from it because it's the first 45 minutes of the year. I could be 15th tomorrow for all I know because the lap time is not that strong. Aleix Espargaro is third. No disrespect to Aleix but do you think he will finish third in the grand prix? It's only the first session.

“I would prefer to have another session tonight. We need to work hard and try to improve our settings. After four or five laps we have a strange feeling with the bike.”

Nevertheless, Crutchlow's lap time was only two tenths from his best at the recent official test and came despite a continuation of the braking problems he has been battling since the previous Sepang test.

“If we knew why we'd change it, but every single time I ride the motorcycle at the moment I have problems with the brakes,” he said.

“Since Sepang I think Marc [who suffered a similar issue] has been ok but I've got worse. We can't find the problem so we have to again look tonight. We brought some things we thought would fix it but it made no difference.

“Now we need to look again and speak with Brembo and Honda to see if we can fix it. It's quite unacceptable because it's been going on a long time and I've had no problems in the past.

“The problem is that sometimes there is no brake. We are talking for one tenth of a second, but one tenth of a second means you are going 20 km/h too fast. It feels like there is air in the system - there is not air in the system - but it feels like you have no brake lever.

“Then you have to release [the lever] and brake again and it starts to work. But you can't do that every corner and for 22 laps of a grand prix.

“The brake problem is with both my bikes. We need to figure it out. We're trying everything but nothing is working and we're running out of things.”

During the session Crutchlow was seen expressing his anger at Mike di Meglio after finding the Frenchman moving slowly while looking for a tow.

“It was one of the main points [in the rider debrief] just one hour ago: 'No waiting in the last corner. If you wait in the last corner, in the braking zone, you will be penalised'. The first rider I see is waiting in the last corner 100km/h too slow,” Crutchlow said.

“It looks like nothing on TV. It looks like he is far away from me, but when you are doing 100km/h faster it scares you to the point of, 'am I going to hit him or not?' If I make a mistake in braking then we are both in really big trouble.

“There is no reason for it. Sure I was angry at the time. I'm just disappointed that already this is happening. I'm not complaining or being a baby. I want it to be safe for the other riders. In the race I don't care. If you hit me, great. It's good fun. If I hit somebody, it's racing. But doing that in free practice is not acceptable.

“All the riders agreed one hour ago there was a problem. Dovi, Bradley, Vale… All the riders know that in the last corner we don't do this. But he was looking for a fast lap and it's not the way to race a motorcycle I feel.”

di Meglio was later given one penalty point by race direction for obstructing the racing line.

Two free practice sessions will be held at the Losail circuit on Friday, after which the top ten riders will be given direct access to Saturday's Qualifying 2.

Tagged as: Honda , Cal Crutchlow

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March 27, 2015 12:10 AM

I actually learned something 1: Crutchlow's brake problem is strange, disturbing and unexceptable 2: Guys waiting for a tow are going to cause a horrific crash someday 3: Crutchlow is still faster than Redding


March 27, 2015 5:45 AM

As far as I can see he was simply putting the results of the 1st practice into perspective and said nothing to denigrate AE. Do you think he'll finish 3rd? If CC was talking up his top satellite position some of you would be doing just exactly what he has done by saying something remarkably similar I'm sure. Let these guys talk ffksake without leaping at their every word. Here's to a safe and entertaining race weekend! :-D

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