Cal Crutchlow felt Miguel Oliveira’s terrifying turn one crash in MotoGP FP4 was sufficient evidence to prove conditions were no longer suitable for qualifying at Phillip Island, saying riders “would’ve all looked like idiots” if they had continued and another incident occurred.

The Englishman expressed his disappointment at the outcome of the day, when high winds led riders to vote in favour of cancelling qualifying after partaking in just over half of FP4.

But Crutchlow felt there was no other option, describing the afternoon conditions as “horrendous,” the like of which he had never experienced before. “I don’t think it was ‘rideable,’” he said. “Some did. I didn’t. And I’m a guy that will always take a risk.”

“It was a disappointing day for the riders, the fans and the people watching at home. These decisions don’t get taken lightly. I think we took the correct decision today, which was not to ride," Crutchlow said.

“The Safety Commission made the correct decision. As you saw, the conditions with our bikes were horrendous. Moto2 went out in front of us and they didn’t have as many problems as us but people seem to forget they’ve got half the horsepower we’ve got.

“When we’re wheelying in sixth gear it’s not nice seeing someone like Miguel go into turn one the way he did. He did nothing wrong and was suddenly blown off the track. He’s an experienced rider. He knows what he’s doing. It’s not like he made a mistake. It was the wind.

“We don’t want to see people injured. I know all too well going into turn one and having a crash like that. I think they made the right decision. It’s a shame for everyone here because we never got to ride today.

“[In Friday’s Safety Commission meeting] I pointed out the weather was going to be horrendous. Carmelo [Ezpeleta – Dorna CEO] said that they would 100 percent back us looking at the conditions. Carmelo’s the first guy to look at our safety.”

Had he experienced conditions like this before? “Never,” he said. “Never. But some people wanted to ride. Some didn’t. It’s as simple as that. If everybody went out and something would have happened, we’d have all looked like idiots. That’s the reality. You saw what happened to Miguel. I was behind him coming down the straight so I saw first hand how easy it is to fly off the track.

“To me it was bad. I don’t think it was ‘rideable’. Some do. I didn’t. And I’m a guy that will always take a risk. I’m glad we stopped today and I feel sorry for the people that came here today and the people watching at home. But nobody wants to be hurt in a game that’s already dangerous enough.”

Crutchlow is also against the idea of holding the two qualifying sessions on Sunday morning. “I don’t agree with qualifying tomorrow,” he said. “[They should] take the FP2 times [for the grid].

The Englishman ended Friday with the third fastest time. But he was quick to point out his reasoning wasn’t based on this. “Obviously people think I’m saying that because I’m on the front row.

“But you also have to think of the situation going into Sunday at 10 o’clock in the morning and qualify. If the wind is still quite strong it’s going to be difficult. But we’ll get to assess the track condition before because we’ll have a practice.

“I don’t think it’s necessary. I’m not just saying that for my benefit; I’m saying it for the safety. I’d still get on the front row if I had to qualify again. Let’s see what tomorrow brings.”

Would the best solution to this be to move the race to an earlier point in the year? “Yeah, but it’s not going to happen,” he said. “We’ve asked for this for five years. We also asked for the time of the race to be changed from 4 o’clock to 3 o’clock and it was like we were asking them to own the circuit.

“But it’s OK because today and tomorrow they’re going to lose a load of fans coming in because of what’s happened and hopefully they’ll see sense.”

 

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