23 September 2016
MotoGP Aragon: Crutchlow ‘disappointed’ with gesture ruling
Cal Crutchlow expresses disappointment at the FIM's decision to ban riders making certain gestures; refuses to believe Aragon is a 'Honda track'.
Cal Crutchlow has expressed his disappointment at the FIM's decision to fine riders for making hand gestures in the wake of an exchange between Valentino Rossi and Aleix Espargaro at Misano.
The Englishman joked the decision could leave him “f**king bankrupt” and revealed all riders received an email from the FIM prior to travelling to Aragon detailing how fines would be handed out to any offenders.
“We're not allowed to give gestures any more,” said the Englishman on Friday, who ended the first day of free practice a highly promising third.
“We're not allowed to stick fingers up, give w**ker signs… Nothing. We had an email last week. No more gesturing. We'll get an FIM fine in Swiss Francs. That'd be no good because I'd be f**king bankrupt. I'm disappointed with that rule change.”
A situation developed at Misano when Rossi felt the elder Espargaro brother had slowed on his racing line. The Suzuki rider's subsequent refusal to apologise led the Italian to raise a finger in his direction.
Crutchlow feels certain gesticulations “add spice” to the spectacle, and as long as there is no danger from such interactions, it's a sign that the sport is not overly sanitised for corporate tastes.
“[Gesturing] adds a bit of spice to it. I liked it when Casey [Stoner] blew the head in Le Mans [in an incident with Randy de Puniet in 2011]. I think there's nothing wrong with it.
“I liked what Rossi did in Misano. Why not? At the end of the day it's what you feel at the time. It's no different to saying it on live TV. Remember when Fenati were kicking each other on the slow down lap. As long as nobody's hurt.”
Turning attentions to his performance on Friday, Crutchlow played down the Honda RC213V's suitability to the Aragon circuit, even though Dani Pedrosa, Marc Marquez and the 30-year old occupied the first three places on the time sheets.
“This ain't a Honda track,” said Crutchlow, 0.081s slower than Pedrosa's fastest time.
“It's just that we've got the momentum and we're pushing hard. It would be a lot easier to ride something else around here, I can tell you that. Dani's on a roll, Marc is Marc, and at the moment, I feel good with the bike so I'm able to push. But I don't think it's a Honda track.
“Dani is 48kg and I'm losing that in one sector every lap. We're getting murdered to Dani, so you can imagine the Ducatis. It's a joke. I'm losing three and a half tenths in fifth and sixth gear just to Dani. So where do I make three and a half tenths in one straight and one corner?
“It's difficult in the last sector, I can tell you that. And last year in the race, it was exactly the same. Identical. Three and a half tenths per lap, which over 20 laps is six and a half seconds. In one straight. Pretty pissed off about that. There's nothing I can do.”
Crutchlow posted his fastest time of the day – a 1m 48.510s lap – when using Michelin's asymmetric front tyre, a feature they have only brought to one prior race. Asked where the tyre helped, he went on, “A little bit in the braking. But just a little bit.
“They've brought the wrong tyres here, I can tell you that; the rear, the front… It looks like the hard is going to be the race tyre. The soft is lasting two laps or three laps. The hard tyre I had this afternoon had no grip compared to this morning. The track was really dirty. It's quite strange.
“They have to go on the thing of safety because they had so many crashes in the test here with the front. I think they're being a bit on the safe size there. but I used the 'H' front – both left and right – in the test here last year in cooler conditions and I was fine.”
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