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MotoGP Qatar: Crutchlow: The bike didn't know where it was

“I braked earlier than the lap before, and went into the corner 60km/h faster” – Cal Crutchlow.
While the first race of MotoGP's new single ECU era went smoothly for most riders, Cal Crutchlow's LCR Honda suffered the dreaded 'lost on track' scenario, eventually causing him to fall.

The unified software still allows MotoGP machines to alter engine performance to suit each corner of the race track.

The trouble is, if the bike gets 'lost' by miscalculating its location - GPS is banned, so distance is measured by counting wheel rotations from the start of each timing sector - the rider is left fighting against the wrong settings.

“I'm really angry, because I had such good pace in the race. We had a technical problem, that's why I crashed. After lap one, the bike didn't know where it was on the circuit,” said Crutchlow.

“I had no speed in the straight, the traction control was coming on in second, third, fourth, fifth gear, and then the rest of the lap I would have traction control or I wouldn't, I'd have anti-wheelie or I wouldn't, I'd have engine brake or I wouldn't. Basically, the bike was in the first sector and it thought it was in the fourth sector.

“Something broke with the bike that wasn't Honda's fault or our fault, so you can imagine what it is, and I ended up crashing because it. I braked earlier than the lap before, and I went into the corner 60 km/h faster than before, because I had no engine brake. It was like I pulled the clutch in.”

The Englishman explained that the bike grew increasing out of sync with reality as the race went on.

“I honestly thought that the engine had broken, because after lap one it reset itself once we crossed the beacon," he said.

"So what's happened is we've started here, and the [finish] line's here, so every lap, it moves back that distance on the track. It doesn't realise where it is. So shutting off into Turn 4 the lap before, I had a little help from the engine brake, then that lap, I just shut off, and I went back two gears, and it was just like I held the throttle open 50%.”

The problem was especially frustrating since, after struggling with technical issues throughout practice and qualifying, Crutchlow was up to seventh place and the top satellite rider. The 30-year-old also felt he could have challenged factory stars Dani Pedrosa (Honda) and Maverick Vinales (Suzuki) ahead of him.

“It's not a fault of the team, it's not a fault of Honda. I'm disappointed because I know I had a great pace, I had better pace than some guys that I thought I wouldn't have. For me it was an easy fifth place, and a crash that I didn't need, and that wasn't my fault.

“I'm always the first guy to admit if I've made a mistake, but a similar thing happened on Thursday or Friday. It was like we'd fixed it, but then something happened [again] today. I could manage the power and the throttle; I had no traction control in most of the corners and in the straights I had traction control coming on.

“But it was the engine brake I couldn't deal with, because you need to slow down the bike, and you can't just slow down with the front brake. So it was really difficult to manage, and that was the final straw.

“It ended up giving way, because we were going way too fast into the corner. If I look back in hindsight, I should have just pulled in. But I'm not going to pull in, it's not my style. Maybe that's the wrong thing to do, and the wrong choice.

“It could have been even more of a disaster, imagine if I had been right behind Dani and Maverick. So we're very lucky. I'm disappointed for the team, because we've worked very hard all weekend and we had a good pace.”

Tagged as: Honda , Cal Crutchlow

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March 21, 2016 12:43 PM

whilst traction control was introduced with some controversy years ago, we were told that it would filter down to road bikes. And, like it or not, so it has. Now, different settings for different corners will never impact us. And should be stopped outright. errors are particularly dangerous, and nothing is added to the spectacle.

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