11 June 2015
MotoGP Catalunya: Crutchlow talks Mugello injuries, Honda grip
"I've got no fractures but nearly all the ligaments in the ankle are broken" - Cal Crutchlow.
Cal Crutchlow will brave the pain of his recently dislocated ankle during this weekend's Catalunya MotoGP.
Having already taken a heavy knock to the head and hand in warm-up, Crutchlow then suffered the dislocated right ankle in a fast fall after losing the front of his Honda with three laps to go at Mugello.
The Englishman was holding fifth place, ahead of satellite rival Bradley Smith at the time of the fall, which handed the Tech 3 rider a ten-point lead over Crutchlow for sixth in the championship standings.
“I had some treatment in Italy after the race with Christian, who used to be my therapist here, and he worked well with the laser to reduce the swelling on my ankle. But typical me, I didn't stop and I went straight out cycling and I've done 900km since the last race!” Crutchlow revealed.
“But if I sat and did nothing for an hour, I couldn't walk afterwards because my ankle would just seize-up because I've got blood on the joint. I don't want it drained out because I want to try and let my body heal naturally. That's why I've not been using painkillers and the swelling has gone down a lot because with the cycling the blood flow is moving out of the ankle and the joint.
“I can't twist my ankle in the ways that I need when I'm riding a MotoGP bike. I can move my foot up and down fine but I can't twist my ankle to the side and to use the rear brake will be difficult. But saying that adrenaline is the best drug in the world so I presume that I won't have a problem tomorrow.”
Turning to his injuries, Crutchlow added: “I've got no fractures but nearly all the ligaments in the ankle are broken. I won't have surgery this year because I promised Lucy that after having four surgeries last year that I wouldn't have another one done this year! I don't want the surgery anyway because I want my body to start healing more naturally. I know that when I'm 50 I won't be able to walk too well but that's part of racing a motorcycle. They will heal in the end. They will join back together.”
Crutchlow had passed a medical check after his Mugello warm-up fall, but admitted he suffered some after-effects from the knock to the head.
“I'm not stupid. I'm not one to take any risks, especially with other riders on track,” he said. “When I got up from the warm-up crash I was dizzy and my helmet was finished. But I felt ok. I never had any vision problems or headaches. I had my lunch and I felt fine, I went to the grid and I felt fine.
“Then in the warm-up lap I noticed that I couldn't see the other bikes too well. It felt like the same as the first lap of practice every weekend, where you feel sick like you are on a roller-coaster because you haven't ridden a bike at 200mph for two weeks. You feel sick or you feel an adrenaline rush.
“I felt like that for the first six laps of the race. If I had no-one in front of me I felt fine but when I had people around me I felt I couldn't ride with them because I couldn't really focus. But when I had no-one in front of me I was fine.”
However Crutchlow insists that didn't contribute to his fall in the race.
“I think that looking back it wasn't the wrong decision to have raced because it had nothing to do with my crash in the race. Was it safe enough for me to race? I've seen people race in a lot worse condition to me that shouldn't have been racing but as I've sad I wouldn't take the risk with other riders. I felt that I was OK, as long as someone wasn't too close in front of me, and at no point did I try to stay close to the rider in front. I was able to keep Bradley behind and there was a gap ahead. I honestly felt ok, but with hindsight after the race I didn't feel too good.”
All of which raises the question of whether the medical checks were sufficient. Crutchlow insists they were:
“The problem is that I felt ok when they were checking my head, my eyes, my reactions, everything. I think in our sport we are correct - they know when you have concussion. Mine maybe wasn't too much concussion. Sure I hit my head. But concussion can last for weeks and I didn't feel anything other than in the first six-seven laps of the race and these last two weeks I've felt fine. I certainly don't think it was the wrong decision to let me race.”
Turning to more technical matters, Crutchlow confirmed that finding rear grip is the top priority for all of the Honda riders.
“I feel that I'm riding quite well and within my limit but honestly I think that we need to improve as a whole with Honda,” he said. “We need to find rear grip. At the moment there isn't a quick fix for it so we have to ride and do the best with what we've got.
“If you asked me, honestly I think the bike is capable of winning but whether the riders are capable of beating Lorenzo at the moment is a different matter. But there's also other bikes capable of winning now too.
“We're lacking rear grip on entry and exit and for me it's worse on the corner exit but that all starts from corner entry. If you don't enter the corner well you don't exit it well either; it's the whole thing.”
Marc Marquez felt corner exit had been improved by using modified electronics at Mugello. Crutchlow revealed he will be giving the new mapping a full evaluation this weekend.
“I tried it for a lap and a half at Mugello and turned it off. We never had time to revise it properly because I had the swingarms to test back-to-back and also the maps. I said we'll try [the mapping] here and I believe that could help us. I hope so.”
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