The recent influx of aerodynamic winglets into MotoGP has safety implications not only in terms of a potential 'slicing' injury, but also due to the turbulence created for following riders.
Cal Crutchlow, whose LCR Honda does not yet have the development, admitted:
“Half of me thinks to say nothing, because maybe we need them if they're working. But the way that I see it is, imagine that sliced someone's leg clean open. And they all say that they'll break before that happens, but how do they know? Have they tried, has it happened before?
“When you ride behind the Ducati... The turbulence off the things is unreal. If you see Pedrosa in Phillip Island, I was behind Pedrosa and he was behind Iannone, honestly I thought he was going to come off it in sixth gear. Because he got a shake on, but then he came out of the bubble.”
The Englishman added that contact with Andrea Dovizioso's wing may have caused the Italian's fall in last year Sepang race. “I don't know whether I hit his wing or hit his handlebar, maybe that's the reason he fell off.”
“I'm not going against [winglets]. They're in the rules, so they've done a good job of making them. And if I was riding for Ducati, I'd want them as well.”
Crutchlow was speaking after setting the twelfth fastest lap time in Thursday practice for the season-opening Qatar MotoGP.
“I'm happy enough. I didn't take too many risks tonight, as you'll see from my lap times. I'm not joking, I was losing four tenths every lap in the corner where the bike landed on my balls [at the test]! I'm nearly stone last in the last sector which is that corner. So when I start to push, I'm sure we'll find some lap time.
“We also seem to have some strange things going on with the engine braking and corner entry. The rear keeps coming around for no real reason. I can't use the rear brake at all, when on the Honda, we really need to use it. So we'll investigate that and see tomorrow.”
Nevertheless, Crutchlow was only 1.156s behind fastest man Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) and half-a-second from the quickest Honda rider Dani Pedrosa.
Pedrosa and team-mate Marc Marquez were again experimenting with winglets on their RC213Vs, as already used by Ducati and Yamaha to help reduce wheelies on corner exit.