Did the carbon fibre swingarm give Repsol Honda riders Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa more rear grip in Sunday Spanish MotoGP?

That seemed to be the question on Cal Crutchlow's mind after the Englishman crashed out of fourth place on lap 8, having lost the front of his RC213V through turn one.

Crutchlow felt the fall was a consequence of overheating the front under braking, as he tried to compensate for a lack of rear grip - an issue the Repsol machines didn't seem to suffer as badly from.

"I had the pace in the race, but it was yo-yoing. I'd catch them in one sector in all the braking and they'd get away from me in acceleration," said Crutchlow, who had qualified on pole position.

"Dani and Marc are not leaving any black lines on the circuit anywhere. It's as simple as that. They had better grip. And I had to force the issue to make up time in braking and overheated the front tyre, same as last year.

"This wasn't a circuit that with the [more powerful 2018] engine you particularly gain a lot, where we can maybe save the front tyre a little bit more, because there's not any real straights."

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Pressed on the perceived difference in rear grip, Crutchlow - who has the standard aluminium swingarm - added:

"I have the data and I looked at every video in Texas and every video here. On Friday they are leaving black lines everywhere, Saturday they are sometimes leaving black lines depending on which bike they are on, and now they are just cruising. Marc was absolutely cruising today.

"You could see I had the pace all weekend. But when the grip is lower we didn’t have the pace because we don’t have the same equipment. But I still think it's possible to do a good job and I make the mistake."

Asked specifically about the carbon fibre swingarm, Crutchlow replied:

"I'm not allowed to say directly a part, but my bike is very good. I don't think Marc would have won so easy if he had my bike today - that's my opinion - but he would still have had a great shot at winning the race. Maybe they'll say it's not better, but why is it on the bike?

"But again, my team and my manufacturer built me a good bike, to be able to be competitive today. And I was, but I never got the job done and the job was to be on the podium."

Asked about the difference between the aluminium and carbon fibre swingarms, race winner Marquez said: 

"We don’t know exactly. Still we cannot say, 'one tenth or two tenths'. I think it’s more about feeling on the bike. It’s a little bit more sensitive. You change a little bit your riding style and the bike feels immediately. This is something that if you are smart to understand how to ride, then you are faster. But if you are riding in the same way, then you are the same.

"Looks like [the carbon fibre is] the way.  Tomorrow [at the test] I will try again the aluminium again because it’s important for us to get back-to-back comparisons. This is just the first prototype, the first time that Honda is working with carbon fibre. It looks like it’s a good way."

Crutchlow, leading the world championship after his victory in Argentina, is now seventh in the standings after non-scores at the last two rounds.



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