It wasn't Cal Crutchlow's healing ankle that left him in most discomfort at the end of Sunday's Qatar MotoGP.

Taking part in his first race since serious ankle injuries at Phillip Island, the Englishman rode to a brilliant podium despite being left with a numb bum after being hit by a footpeg!

"Not to make a joke, but my arse, in the left cheek - somebody hit me with the footpeg and I couldn't feel my arse for 15 laps. But I have no idea who it was!" said the LCR Honda rider.

"My ankle was fine. Only two times in the race did I have a problem with my [injured] foot getting stuck on the brake lever. So I was very pleased with the smoothness of the way I rode with regards to my rear brake.

"But yeah, the reason I couldn’t move after the race was because I couldn't feel my arse!"

That footpeg incident aside, Crutchlow admitted there had been some dark days following his injury last October.

"I'm not going to bore everyone with the story, but as everybody knows, I had a badly broken ankle and they were close to fusing the ankle. I have a lot of people to thank to be able to walk again, let alone race.

"It was not an easy road. At the start to sit and watch the MotoGP races was fine, I accepted it. But after when I couldn't walk it was difficult. I could ride my bicycle all week no problem, but I couldn't walk.

"They told me I would walk again, but if you are in that much pain you don't know yourself. First of all I wanted a normal life, to be able to walk and I can. It's just a bonus that I can still race motorcycles."

Crutchlow dropped to sixth in the middle stages of the grand prix but went on to finish just 0.320s from race winner Andrea Dovizioso, with Repsol Honda's Marc Marquez in between.

"We worked hard this weekend because the tests were a bit if a waste of time for me and also this weekend's been difficult. If you would have told me after warm-up, finishing 14th that I was going to be on the podium I would have laughed!" he said.

"I played my cards in the race. I felt good once we started the race. I think me and Marc had a very similar tactic to try and save the rear tyre. As Marc said, we had to use quite a lot of the rear tyre to turn the bike this weekend.

"When I was behind [Dovizioso and Marquez] at the start at the start I felt really comfortable. But then [the others] passed me and I just thought they were mental! They were mad men, swerving everywhere and I knew I had to get past them to be in a good rhythm and good state of mind to be smooth. Because the other riders around me were not really riding smooth at that point.

"But that’s MotoGP. Everybody plays their cards. If their card is to be really fast in the middle of the corner or brake 50 metres after the other person, it makes great, entertaining racing.

"I felt that I had the pace for the podium halfway through race. So I knew where to push and when to push. And I think it worked to our advantage. But what a great start to the season for everybody. The riders, fans and people watching at home.

"It seems every race in MotoGP is always a battle. It was nice to be in it.

"To be able to race and to get a podium is a dream to be honest because we didn’t know if I'd be coming back at all at one point let alone coming back and being competitive."

Roudn two takes place in Argentina at the end of this month, where Crutchlow took victory a year ago.

 

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