At the close of a nightmare weekend, Cal Crutchlow admitted he was unable to generate any heat into Michelin’s wet weather tyres, a factor that led to him crashing out of the Japanese Grand Prix on two occasions.

The Englishman had climbed to 13th on the fifth lap when he suffered his first fall. Crutchlow remounted and was circulating in 21st when he next lost control braking for the downhill turn eleven.

The second incident was a terrifying one, with Crutchlow falling when braking upright at a little over 150mph.

“I couldn’t get any heat into the tyre which was the strangest thing because this morning I had no problem with that,” said the 31-year old. “The left hand side was just ridiculous. The second crash looked I’ve come round at the time there has been a big dump of water on the track.

“Honestly, I braked exactly the same as the lap before and I was coming in the pits the next lap because I was 56s behind the guy in 20th. I wasn’t going to get any points. I rode round thinking there’s no point to risk.

“But in my head I had to get to two-thirds distance because there could have been a re-start. It means I had eight laps and we had nine [to go when I crashed]. I was not pushing at all. I was coming in.

“I braked, changed back two years and locked completely in a straight line at 250kph. I have nothing to say. On a more positive note I felt better in the rain today than what I did yesterday. I could have been competitive but I didn’t stay on the bike.”

On Saturday Crutchlow had expressed his confusion at his lack of speed with the 2017 RC213V in wet conditions. Normally a podium challenger in the rain, the Englishman was unable to qualify any higher than 15th.

And Crutchlow said he had gained no further understanding during of the issue on race day. “Still in a head-to-head battle with Marc at the minute with our bike, I don’t think we could beat him. Before I would have been confident I could have, like last year, and maybe the year before. Now he seems to be the only one that can ride it in the rain. And he’s riding a lot faster than last year in the rain.

“We don’t understand why, because he also has a bad feeling with the bike. It’s just he’s riding better than everyone else. When he’s the only one getting a result, the only one up there in practice and qualifying in the rain, we have to look at the situation as well.”

Turning his attentions to the absorbing fight for the race win, Crutchlow feels such showings from eventual winner Andrea Dovizioso were nothing out of the ordinary. The Italian has always been “a battler”, as Crutchlow said. Such fights have just not always been at the front of a race.

“When I was team-mates with him, he was exactly the same on the Tech 3 bike. It’s just then he was battling for fifth and sixth. He’s always been a battler but it was just you didn’t see it, because he was not up with Marc at the front for the win. He’s won the races this year. Normally he’s battling for third or fourth when I was with him, but he’s always battled like that. He’s riding well.

“I’m really glad I crashed with nine laps to go and got to see the end of it because if I rode around to the finish I wouldn’t have got to see it,” Crutchlow joked. “Of course I’d have preferred to be in it. All credit to Dovi. I’m pleased for him. He’s riding very, very well at the moment.

“I’m pleased for Ducati as well because they’ve worked very hard to get where they are now. They’re both riding superb. You have to give it to Marc for having another go at the last corner, as he always will. I think the credit has to go to Dovi because he’s riding well in both the wet and dry.”

Does this weekend mean he would change his earlier prediction that Marc Marquez would ease to the world crown? “I don’t know what the odds are,” Crutchlow said. “I might have to swoop a little bit now.

“I still think Marc [will win]. The only downside for Marc is Dovi is so strong in Malaysia. Marc’s better in Australia. Dovi’s better in Malaysia. So then I think it’s going to be equal again. But nobody can make a mistake again, that’s for sure.”


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