It appears Cal Crutchlow rode to fifth in Sunday's Czech Republic MotoGP despite a 'non-displaced' fracture to his T6 vertebra.

The Englishman suffered a back injury when he (and world championship leader Marc Marquez) fell on fluid dropped by Alvaro Bautista's Ducati at Brno on Saturday morning.

However the exact nature of the damage could not be fully confirmed by X-rays at the circuit and Crutchlow was sent to a local hospital for a CT scan.

He then completed the rest of the Saturday action - despite an apparent attempt by some doctors to persuade the 2016 winner not to return to the track - culminating in fifth on the grid as the top satellite rider.

But the #35 then went back to hospital on Saturday evening…

It turned out Crutchlow did not get a scan during his first visit, hence the scene at the track with MotoGP doctors on his return prior to qualifying. But they couldn't stop him since the local circuit doctor passed Crutchlow as fit.

The hospital CT scan was duly completed at the second attempt, on Saturday night, after which his LCR Honda team declared "a scan revealed no fracture, meaning he will be able to line up in Sunday’s race."

Or did it?

"I had an X-ray at the circuit yesterday and there was a clear break in my T6 vertebra and then I went for the CT scan. But the people at the local hospital were not ready" replied Crutchlow, when asked to explain why some doctors seemed to be trying to prevent him from riding yesterday.

"I had the option to have the CT scan before practice, or in the evening. I chose before practice because they told me it would only take one hour, so I'd be back for qualifying.

"I'm sat there in a waiting room, triage, saw a doctor... Then I went up to the CT scan and there was no-one there! So I left and came back for qualifying. That was why there was some 'confusion' about the situation!

"The doctor at the circuit passed me fit, so I went and got on the bike.

"Then obviously Dr. Charte and Dr. Mir arrived, with Doctor Zasa [Clinica Mobile], and they were not so happy with the situation. Because if it was an unstable fracture, which they didn’t know at that stage, it would have been dangerous.

"But I'm a motorcycle racer and I got back on the bike and that was it. They couldn't stop me because the circuit doctor had passed me fit.

"I fully respect them as doctors. They are very, very good doctors and what they were telling me and what they did was very good. I trust them 100%. But I had to make my own decision: Do I want to not practice and qualify, or risk having a bad back? I decided to practice and qualify. To the non-amusement of Honda as well. But what do they want me to do? I'm here to race and I felt okay."

What did the CT scan show at the second attempt, on Saturday night?

"It showed a… non-displaced fracture. So I was safe as such. It was okay for me to ride. Put it like that. I had pain, but not pain I couldn't manage. My neck was sore today. It was a big crash.

"I was passed fit yesterday, I rode yesterday and nothing else was said."

Crutchlow stated he would not have risked riding if an 'unstable fracture' had been confirmed at any stage.

"The doctors here are very good and were obviously not too pleased that I went out. I'm sure they've not been pleased with many riders in the past!"

Sunday's bike-swap race saw Crutchlow reach a peak of fourth, before losing a place to Valentino Rossi on the final lap, but remain the top non-factory rider.

Afterwards there were suspicions that race winner Marquez had deliberatly let some riders past just before making a decisive early pit stop, so the frontrunners would be unaware he had pulled into the pits.

"I knew he was pitting because he never fought back!" Crutchlow said. "That's not Marc's nature and as we went into the last corner I looked across and I could see him. I thought 'you bastard!' Because I knew he had out-foxed us again, the same as in Sachsenring last year."

"I followed Dani. I have to be completely honest. I could have gone in with Marc but I honestly thought Dani was going to win the race today, so I did what he did. The problem is when we came back out he did a better job of passing the other guys, because his bike was faster.

"He rode very well, but had a bit of extra speed to pass Petrucci. It took me 10 laps. I had no speed in 5th or 6th gear compared to Petrucci. In 2nd, 3rd and 4th were were competitive, but 5th and 6th we were not. I couldn't pass him and I had to manage the front tyre, because it was too soft for me. We didn't chose the hard because it was a flag-to-flag race.

"But I felt okay in the race, I was disappointed not to get a podium. That was the aim. But I think we did well enough considering. We qualified fifth and finished fifth, not too far from the factory bikes. It just took me too long to get past the Ducati.

"At the end of the race I was caught by Vale, but had no tyre left. I slowed down the three laps before, thinking on the last lap I'm going to push... And he passed me anyway!"



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