Cal Crutchlow launched from sixth to second place at the start of Sunday's Italian MotoGP at Mugello

But things soon went downhill, with the LCR Honda rider sitting sixth until mid-distance, then being passed by Maverick Vinales (Yamaha) and Michele Pirro (Ducati) as he struggled with an 'unusual' tyre issue.

"Today was a very difficult day, quite possibly my worst race of the season," Crutchlow said.

"Again I was in the front group, but then got dropped from the front group which has not normally happened to me in previous years.

"I had a bad feeling with the bike when I was changing direction, which was happening all weekend, and I was not able to be competitive in that area.

"We had a problem with the rear tyre in the end, after probably 14 laps of the race it seemed that a piece came out of the tyre.

"After the race we assessed the situation with the team and Michelin and found an unusual rubber wear on the rear tyre. So we’ll continue to evaluate it and I’m sure Michelin will investigate why this happened.

"I’m pleased to finish and get some points on a tough day, but that’s not where I need to finish at all.”

Crutchlow, on the podium during round one in Qatar, is now tied with Jack Miller for sixth and top independent rider in the world championship.

 

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