29 June 2016
MotoGP Netherlands: Crutchlow: When it started raining, disaster!
Cal Crutchlow laments a mistake that prevented him from collecting a top result in the rain at Assen; admits added grip with softer rear tyre caught him out.
Cal Crutchlow was left to rue a missed opportunity at Assen as a fall at the beginning of the second race prematurely ended his Dutch TT.
The Englishman believes it could have been him and not ex-team-mate Jack Miller that was sampling victory champagne at the end of a chaotic, dramatic day, had the race not been stopped due to increasing rain.
Along with fellow Honda men Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa, Crutchlow was advancing toward the leaders as first the wet conditions dried before worsening in the midst of a torrential downpour.
“Today is a 'coulda shoulda woulda' for a lot of people,” said a frustrated Englishman, who was one of five riders to fall out of the running in the early stages of the restart.
“I felt great in the first race, I knew the tyre would be no good at the start and I really struggled to get heat into it, because I used the heard rear, but when it started to dry I was the fastest man on the circuit and I felt I would have won the race.
“Then it started raining and it was a disaster! Dani caught me by three-seconds in one lap, when earlier he had been 12-seconds ahead of me and I caught and passed him, which shows the grip of the soft rear.
“Honestly I felt really, really good on the bike. At the end of the day I crashed in the restart simply because I had too much rear grip. I changed to the softer rear tyre, but had no experience on it from the first race and got caught out with the cold front tyre.
“My crash was exactly like [Andrea] Dovizioso. He crashed in the same place [at the fast Meeuwenmeer right], one lap later. Obviously I'm disappointed. But hey, that's the way it is. It always helps on a day when you crash that Valentino crashes as well. Because nobody says anything to you about crashing for a start and if the best in the world - Dani, Valentino, Jorge was nowhere – it shows that things are a leveller.”
Like many of the other riders, Crutchlow felt Michelin's front tyre was much too hard for the conditions and the track surface, which was exemplified by its condition after the first race.
“The front tyre was way too hard for this circuit. We could have done 100 laps. It was not even scrubbed. So we also used the front tyre from the first race for the second race. I think everybody did. They are just not wearing.
“The hard tyre in the first race was in good condition and I could have carried on. It had it so much grip in the dry, but when you hit a wet patch and it starts raining again - like it did - disaster.
“The Honda package, we know how far off we are in the dry. But you saw what happened in the rain today. The Ducati in the wet and dry is incredible at the minute. Their electronic system is a lot better than everyone else. I think you could have got a podium with the Ducati with your eyes closed today.
“Riding the Honda is a lot more difficult I feel than riding their bike at the moment and that's why I think what Jack and Marc did was even more credible.”
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