Crutchlow: 'I swallowed a thermometer pill! Riding here is hard'

Ahead of 2023 MotoGP testing in Malaysia, spare a thought for the test riders that could be out in the physically exhausting heat and humidity of Sepang for double the number of days compared to the race riders.
Cal Crutchlow, RNF Yamaha MotoGP Sepang
Cal Crutchlow, RNF Yamaha MotoGP Sepang

While race riders (with the exception of rookie Augusto Fernandez) are only eligible for the Official three-day outing from February 10-12, test riders will also be in action at the Shakedown from February 5-7.

In other words, the testers could be forcing their burning hot prototypes around Sepang, for up to eight hours a day, for six out of eight days in a row.

One of those is Yamaha’s Cal Crutchlow, who explained the gruelling physical challenge of Sepang after a fighting twelfth place in last October’s Malaysian Grand Prix, the best performance of his end-of-year stand-in rides at RNF.

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'People don't understand - when you ride here, it’s hard'

“The problem is not just the heat from the engine of our own bike, but the heat coming out the back of the exhausts of the others – honestly, it's so hot here. I've never understood why [some] guys are still sat in their leathers two hours after the race,” Crutchlow said.

“In most sports, there’s a heat protocol. Here we just get blasted at 1,000 degrees…”

Cal Crutchlow, MotoGP race, Malaysian MotoGP, 23 October
Cal Crutchlow, MotoGP race, Malaysian MotoGP, 23 October

“I've swallowed a pill before, a thermometer,” Crutchlow revealed. “Many years ago. I think Brad Smith did as well.

“You get a data reading on your phone, somebody analyses it and our sport has the highest and fastest rate of core temperature to 40 degrees in any sport in the world.

“Because you’re wearing leathers, you're on a hot bike. It goes way over 40 for the whole race here.

“Honestly, by the first corner, you're over 40 degrees in core temperature. You imagine; first corner and you’ve got 20 laps left. It's incredible!”

“When you’ve got a leather suit on, breathing into your own face, with your heart rate at 200 beats a minute, in 35 degrees, [high] humidity, sat on 1,000 degree motorcycle that’s burning you, with other bikes all around you… It's hard.

“People don't understand that when you ride here, it’s hard.”

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