Cal Crutchlow has stated he was pleased to “get out of Aragon with some points” after a lack of rear grip saw him nearly repeat the mistake of Marc Marquez on several occasions.
Locked in a late-race duel for fifth, Crutchlow eventually came home seventh, his best result in the second half of 2015, as he was debilitated with a slipping clutch off the line, grip and acceleration issues.
On Saturday, after qualifying eighth, Crutchlow said he was at the 'limit with our package'. Again, he felt Sunday's race underlined this as he was losing acceleration even to Aleix Espargaro's underpowered Suzuki GSX-RR.
“I'm not too happy with the final position, but in the end, this is the best we could do with our package,” said the 29-year old. “”I was riding quite well, but I had no grip with the rear of the bike. The advantage was really in the braking and the stopping into the corner. But we had some small problems. I had a slipping clutch off the start line, which we lost four places immediately. And honestly, we had no rear grip so it was really difficult to go around the corner and out of the corner.
"We struggled with the acceleration of our bike, we couldn't even keep with the Suzuki. It seems we were losing three tenths just on acceleration to the Suzuki out of turn 15, when you would think we would be quite strong there. So honestly, with the package we had today, I was just pleased to finish, because we had some big moments where I thought I was not going to finish.
“I was not riding too hard, I felt it was quite an easy race for me, we just couldn't' go any faster with what we had. Honestly, I'm quite pleased with a seventh position and to finish the race, and to come out of here with some more knowledge of riding the Honda.
Repsol Honda teamster Marquez's race was over as early as the second lap as he lost the front of his RC213V while braking for the downhill turn twelve.
Asked whether he was surprised to see the reigning world champion suffer from this crash, Crutchlow said from his own experiences in the race he could sympathise with Marquez.
“I nearly did it a lap after. And I was so close to going on the floor, you cannot believe. We're pushing the front so much because we have no rear grip. It's as simple as that. That's why Marc crashed, evidently. Honestly, in the braking zone, in one corner, I was taking 0.4 out of Dovi and Aleix.
“Sure, we'd lose 0.3 on the exit, and then we'd lose 0.1 down the straight. I had a slow bike as well. I don't know why the bike was so slow. I think acceleration as well, because of the wheelie, because of the spin, but I could not even slipstream the Suzuki, or get anywhere near it. Only sixth gear, end of fifth, I was gaining on it. I'd lost already on the acceleration.
“Honestly, I was happy enough to finish the race and get the race under our belt. It isn't where I want to finish, sure. We had a problem off the line, the clutch slipped, which is, not common, but it seems to have happened quite a few times.
"If you look categorically, Marc's starts are terrible as well. Dani three years ago, holeshot every race. You've never seen him make a good start all year. It's really difficult to get off the line, and that's one of my weak points, I have to say, getting off the line. But if you can't get off the line, and you have a slipping clutch, or something that doesn't come off the line very well, it makes for a difficult race. I felt we did not quite the best job we could today, I wanted to be at the front of that battle, I wanted to beat Dovi. But I was seventh, and that was it."
While he admitted Dani Pedrosa had ridden brilliantly to claim a fighting second place on the Repsol machine, Crutchlow pointed to the Spaniard's weight, some 20kg lighter than his own, as reason for the Spaniard finding better grip on corner exit.
“I've lost some weight for the reason that we've got no grip, and that we need to get grip. When I was racing at Yamaha, I was 71kg, 72kg and not 69kg, with a slow bike, and I was on the podium a lot more than I am now. It's the stress you put on the tire, it's the overheating of the tire.
“Obviously Marc is in between us. Marc overheats the tire like you wouldn't believe, but he's able to control it, because that's the way he rides. He rides the bike completely sideways going into the corner. But because he's got no rear grip, that's why he lost the front today. It's our only ammunition. The only ammunition at the moment is going into the corner absolutely closing our eyes.”