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MotoGP: Where do Crutchlow, Honda gain in the wet?

Cal Crutchlow 1.5s faster than next best Honda rider on his way to wet Silverstone pole - where does he make the difference?
Cal Crutchlow and the other Honda riders are often asked where world championship leader Marc Marquez gains time on them in the dry.

But in the wet, Crutchlow has emerged as the strongest Honda rider; fast enough to fight for victory at both Assen (before the restart) and Sachsenring (before the bike swaps), winner on a drying track in Brno and now a dominant home pole at Silverstone.

The LCR Honda rider was one-second quicker than nearest rival Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) in the Saturday rain and 1.5s faster than the next best Honda, of factory star Dani Pedrosa. Marquez qualified in fifth place after falling at Turn 1.

So where does the Englishman make the difference relative in the wet?

"I brake a little later than Marc in the rain, which is - not strange - but I make up a little bit of time there," Crutchlow replied. "But I don't take any risk in the middle of the corner like he does.

"If you saw [his fall at] at turn 1, that's sort of the reason why. He gives a lot of angle with rear brake. With the way the engine braking works, we have to use the rear brake a lot and I try not to lock the rear as much in the rain as I do in the dry.

"Honestly, I gain a lot on the exit. But it's the way I pick the bike up and I don't mind the bike sliding so much in the rain. Which is quite strange because in the dry I hate it!

"You have to be aggressive in the rain to make the bike work, and me being quite aggressive seems to work with the bike. If you don't get enough heat into the tyres - look at Dani; it took him the whole qualifying session to do his fastest lap, in the last lap. Because he builds up and he is a little bit lighter.

"It seems that me and Marc are able to push quite a bit [earlier on]."

Does that aggression help you keep heat in the wet tyres?

"Yeah a little bit, but it's difficult. You can create too much heat and then if it starts to dry you are really in the shit. So it's difficult to say.

"Everyone asks 'how are you so fast in the rain?' I don't know: I'm able to push, I feel good. I don't mind the bike sliding. Maybe I just take a risk a bit more. But I've also had some shit races in the rain. Like Motegi last year."

With Crutchlow, Jack Miller and Marquez having all won wet races for Honda this season, the RC213V is also generally more competitive in the wet.

"I think that we have a good chassis. Our weak point is the acceleration," Marquez explained. "But in wet conditions the acceleration, the limit, is [lower]. That means that maybe Ducati and Yamaha cannot use this rear grip and so the difference is less. It looks like our bike in the wet is working well."

Weather forecast are predicting better weather for Sunday's race. Crutchlow feels he can fight for the top five in the dry.

By Peter McLaren





Tagged as: Cal Crutchlow

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