After suffering his third crash in as many races, Cal Crutchlow took responsibility for his difficult start to the 2016 season, but could also see many positives in those first three races, stating “we're fast enough, there's no doubt about that.”
Crutchlow was scrapping for a top-six result in Austin when he lost the front end of his Honda RC213V at the downhill turn eleven, leaving the Englishman without a point to his name.
Yet his pace in all three races was such that Crutchlow felt a top-five was possible in Qatar, Argentina and Austin had he stayed on, which bodes well for the remainder of the year considering HRC's struggles during winter testing.
“I'm just pissed off,” said Crutchlow in Austin. “The third non-finish of the year. It's not good enough. I was pushing too hard in an area that I shouldn't have to be pushing. Our bike's got no real speed and I have to try and make everything on the brakes.
“We're fast enough. There's no doubt about that. We've got the pace. Three fifth places would have put us third in the championship at the minute. I feel there were three fifth places there but I never made them happen. It's my fault.”
The Englishman admitted his current setting needs some adjustment as the MotoGP series heads to Jerez to kick off the European leg of the season.
“Dani and Marc found something for the speed at the [Austin race] weekend and they don't have to push as hard in the braking. Whatever we're doing isn't working. We do need to look at setting the bike up differently because we followed a direction that we've had for the first three races and the last test. Ever since we've done that Dani and I haven't been strong enough.
“Marc is but that's Marc. The team are not angry. I'm just pissed off because you come to a race to get a good result and we could have had three of them. Two of them have been my fault. There's no one to blame except myself.”
Crutchlow started the Austin race strongly, but lost valuable time at the notoriously tight turn one, which pushed him back to ninth at the end of lap one. From there, his task was made a great deal more difficult.
“I chose my own destiny at turn one. I let seven people past. I was fourth into the first corner, braked where Marc and Jorge braked. Turn one was where we lost the race today. If we had got away it might have been a little easier than what it was. That group, the bikes are similar. Only the Ducatis are really fast. We could hold the Suzuki's slipstream and be there, with it.
“I was probably a little frustrated behind Redding because he was going slow. The pace slow and his bike was fast that we couldn't get any acceleration or speed. We had to do everything on the brakes. We're still confident enough. It's just the way it is at the minute.”
Crutchlow also had a message for those questioning whether he was retiring at the end of the season after a rumour appeared on Sunday morning.
“Another thing. I ain't retiring. I have the phone number of the guy that did the thing so he'll get a phone call later. Some di**head made a fictitious MotoGP site. He also said [Jorge] Lorenzo was going to KTM. I'll give him a call later. He also might get a nice lawsuit letter on his doorstep for loss of earnings, damages, stuff like that.”