Double MotoGP race winner Cal Crutchlow certainly had an eventful 31st birthday at Sepang on Saturday.

The LCR Honda star suffered two falls; the first of which left him with hand and arm injuries, while the second looked to have put him last of the twelve riders in Qualifying 2.

But the Englishman picked up his damaged RC213V and went on to salvage a commendable fifth on the grid for Sunday's race on his final lap.

"I think I dislocated the thumb - something definitely popped inside - and the arm is really swollen," Crutchlow said. "It's painful even riding in the rain, so I can imagine in the dry it'll be difficult."

Crutchlow felt something strange had gone wrong during the turn seven accident.

"I did 20 laps with the rear tyre and did a 2m 1.2. I put a brand new rear tyre on and did a 2m 1.2 again. There is something we know was wrong. Then I went into the corner and the thing just came around.

"I ended up crashing with the front; I leant the bike over because I was going to highside with the rear."

The #35's misfortune was then compounded when he hit kerbing at the edge of the track, causing the injuries.

"That kerb's four foot off the f**king floor or whatever it is. It's ridiculous. I don't even know why there is a big raised kerb there. We've asked them to move it. We don't need it. Formula One don't use it either.

"So in the end I bounced up the kerb. Everybody that has ever crashed there hits that kerb and hurts themselves. Ben Spies really hurt himself on that kerb in the test some years ago. We've asked for it to be moved ever since, but it hasn't and I hit both my hands - definitely one anyway; this arm is cut up and this hand smashed.

"The hand is the most painful because I am braking with it and pushing against the handlebar is difficult. I was disappointed because I could have gone straight to Qualifying 2."

The accident left Crutchlow outside the top ten at the end of third practice, sending him to Qualifying 1, by which time a rain storm had soaked the circuit.

The Englishman led the wet Qualifying 1 session, setting a lap time that would have put him second in the following Qualifying 2 pole position shootout. But instead of battling for the top spot, the second fall meant Crutchlow was in danger of being left on the fourth row of the grid.

"The second crash was nothing. I was just getting into speed, because it seemed the track was getting worse and worse every session. FP4 was fantastic, Qualifying 1 was a disaster and then Qualifying 2 was even worse. Everybody was running off the track and Marc nearly crashed twice in front of me.

"I finally decided 'ok, I have to push'. I pushed and crashed. When I got back on the bike was badly damaged. I had the handlebar completely at the tank, so I did a lap time that was quite respectable considering the brake was coming on and handlebar complete bent!

"If I hadn't made the mistake it would have been better, but this is racing. I think we did very well to salvage the position."

Looking ahead to the grand prix Crutchlow said he wants a dry race despite the added stress on his injured hand.

"I have a good pace in the dry I feel. I can be competitive in both. Hopefully it'll be dry in the morning and then a dry race, but it doesn't look like it..."

By Peter McLaren


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