Cal Crutchlow and Jorge Lorenzo were both fortunate to walk away from a dramatic collision in opening practice for the Japanese MotoGP.

Riding in soaking wet conditions at the Motegi circuit, Crutchlow was caught out by a slower-moving Lorenzo and lost control of his LCR Honda under braking for Turn Nine.

After being pitched off, the Englishman and his RC213V then speared into the side of the Ducati, sending riders and bikes rolling through the gravel.

There was a clear difference of opinion between the riders about who was to blame immediately after the incident. Crutchlow later softened his stance, apologising for taking Lorenzo down, but felt it was far from completely his fault.

"I'm sorry for Jorge, because in the end I hit him and it looks like I'm completely the villain," Crutchlow said. "But he was going really slow on the racing line. 

"It looks like I was going really fast but if you look at the rider in front of him - Nozane - where he brakes and where I braked, he braked later than me. But because I had to brake harder because I was going to hit Jorge, because he was going slow, I locked the front on the water.

"He looked behind twice, knew I was coming and was six-seconds slower than his previous lap. But obviously I crashed into him, so it doesn't look good for me! We're not going to agree, but the main thing is we are both okay.

"I have seen him and his team, to make sure he is okay, because I didn't want to take him out, that's for sure.

"I think it was 50-50, or actually 60-40 in my favour! We can - not laugh about it now - but we can smile about it I suppose, because we are both okay.

"It was a big impact and my helmet is destroyed. His bike was on top of me for a while and then he was on top of me! I had an injury on my arm, but it's okay and I'm not going to complain about it after taking someone out!

"But this is racing. We are not here playing games; I didn't mean to do it and that's it.

"It's a shame for Jorge but I believe if he was going at a normal speed we would have been okay."

Lorenzo, nursing an ice pack on his hand on Friday evening, felt lucky not to have broken any bones - especially given some intense pain in his hand.

"I was really lucky, honestly, because I could have broken a collarbone, a leg, or something because it was a nasty crash," said the triple MotoGP champion. "I didn't expect it. I just saw a rider and a bike impacting me and I was in the gravel.

"I was really afraid because 20-seconds after the crash my hand was inflamed so much and I had a lot of pain. So I thought some bones were broken, but luckily the X-ray said no fractures.

"I was really happy because it could have ended quite badly, looking at the crash on TV and how the bike impacted me. The impact was huge.

"At first Cal didn't apologise. Actually he said 'why was I so slow?' This is Cal! But he was good, after two hours he came to my office and said 'sorry'. He understood it was his fault.

"Yeah I was slow, but he could see me in front and he could understand what was the best line not to make any stupid thing in first free practice. For me, he risked so much, he braked so aggressively and lost control of the bike. Anyway he feels sorry and it's ok."

Lorenzo went on to finish the day in fourth place, just 0.357s behind team-mate Andrea Dovizioso and is confident for the remainder of the weekend.

"Apart from that a good day for me. FP2 was really good, especially the last exit. I had a really strong pace and we are very optimistic to fight for the first row or pole position tomorrow.

"Today we demonstrated the bike is still very competitive in the rain. We were first and fourth, with a very good pace. So we can fight for something important. It will be a long race in difficult conditions because it's raining quite heavily. So to stay on the bike will not be easy.

"But we are fast and we are competitive. This is the important thing."

Crutchlow finished the opening day in ninth place.

"I think the position probably doesn't reflect our speed. I was quite consistent and quite fast. The problem was I changed tyre too late in the last session and it takes too long to get the heat into them. But I feel good. No real problem. A little bit in engine braking, we need to improve there, but other than that not bad.


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