11 April 2015
MotoGP Austin: Braking error 'cost Crutchlow front row'
CWM LCR Honda rider Cal Crutchlow feels front row start in Austin was a certainty had it not been for a mistake on the brakes into turn 11
Cal Crutchlow was left to rue a mistake on his flying lap in Austin, which the LCR Honda rider says blew his chance of a front row start.
The British star qualified in fifth place on row two behind Movistar Yamaha's Valentino Rossi, setting a time in 2m 02.613s, which was 0.478s back on pole man Marc Marquez on the factory Repsol Honda.
Crutchlow, though, is confident he would have joined the MotoGP world champion on the front row had it not been for an error at turn 11, which affected his rhythm through the second and third sectors at the Circuit of the Americas.
“I'm pissed off not to be on the front row but it is my own fault because I made a stupid mistake on the lap but that's racing,” he said.
“I felt comfortable on my own and it's a good feeling to be able to do the lap on my own, but I made a mistake into turn 11, which is in the second sector and then I lost all the drive onto the straight, which is into the third sector.
“I wrecked two sectors basically and I just outbraked myself and it definitely cost me the front row; it never cost me pole I don't think, but it would've been very close I feel.
“I'm quite comfortable and confident at the moment, the race is going to be quite difficult because we don't understand the package enough at the moment to make changes and we don't really know what way to go because we've not had enough time on the new chassis.”
Crutchlow, who pushed Marquez hard in FP3 and was only 0.188s behind the 22-year-old on the timesheets in second place, is still adapting to the new chassis upgrade he received from Honda for the Austin MotoGP.
“If we do one thing it tends to compromise the other so we need to have a dry warm-up if we can and work again, but I don't think it will be dry at all,” he said.
“I can feel it [benefit of new chassis in corner entry] but we're also losing in other areas; the new chassis is definitely positive in some areas but I'm losing where I would've gained with the old chassis.
“The new chassis is better but I haven't had enough time on it. We've definitely improved and our pace is not too bad because in FP4 I did my fastest lap with 17 laps on the tyre, so that's a positive thing and I think a lot of the other guys were on new tyres,” he added.
“It's a good step to go into tomorrow confident but we need to work for the start of the race and we need to be there on the first eight laps of the race because I think at the moment we might lose some time, but then gain it back at the end of the race.”
Asked where he was finding life difficult with the new chassis out on the track, Crutchlow revealed that he is struggling in particular through the twists and turns of the first sector.
“I'm really struggling through the first section with the changes of direction, which in previous years I've had no problem with,” he said.
“I feel with the package at the moment we're giving up too much there, but our setting is not perfect and with the limited amount of time we've had on the bike I don't think we are doing too bad but we definitely can improve and we need to for tomorrow.
“And if it rains I'm going to be in a sh*t pile because there are so many guys that are fast in the rain that are willing to take the risks. It's difficult and it depends how much it rains because the guy who's the heaviest at this track has the most advantage, because they displace the water better, so the heavier guys will really benefit,” he added.
“At the moment I don't understand the bike well enough to be able to push that much but whatever the weather brings it's the same for everyone.”
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