Having undergone surgery on both arms already this season, then been sidelined from both Misano rounds due to complications from the invasive arm-pump operation, Cal Crutchlow's MotoGP return at Catalunya got off to a bad start when he damaged his left ankle on Wednesday.

"I fell over here in the paddock in front of all the HRC technicians!" Crutchlow said.

"I didn’t have a PCR [Covid] test result, so I had to come here and have another test. I came out of the office, pushed the door and the door had no resistance against it. So I sort of stumbled and fell out, but the step was really high and I fell over on my ankle and onto the floor.

"I heard the snap and I knew it was either the bone or something. I stood up and tried to walk. I could feel the ligaments were really damaged. Then I went back to the car and Dako [Mamola, assistant] called Doctor Mir - and he just started laughing!

"I've had a broken scaphoid and two arm operations already. I'd just left his office after having my right arm checked and now I'm coming back in for a damaged ankle. As you can imagine they just thought I was a lunatic!

"But I looked down at the ankle and it was like a golf ball on the side of it. So I had to go. They shoved a needle inside the joint to get rid of the blood. But it never went down completely.

"I went back to Dako’s house and spent the night with the ice unit on the ankle. I know what to do as I had it with the other ankle for two months. I know the tricks of the trade.

"Now, yes it’s still swollen and black, but it’s not even a quarter of the size it was yesterday. I can’t walk properly, but I can ride and I feel a lot, lot better. I did well with nurse Dako last night!

"In 2012 I did exactly the same injury at Silverstone. Started at the back of grid. So we’ll resort back to the same taping to make sure the ankle is secure in my boot. I’ll also steal someone else’s boot because mine's not big enough. Might be a 42 with Rins or a 20 with Fabio. Could be Pecco’s… Whoever it is has to pay me to promote their logo. But we’ll sort that out!"

Despite the ankle misfortune, it's good news as far as the recovery of his right forearm.

"In Misano the arm wasn’t closing up. The Doctors didn’t want me to ride with the arm opening up. And it was just getting bigger and bigger. Lucio [Cecchinello] was the only one that wanted me to ride. But the reality is it's not his arm and not really his decision because it was the doctor's decision and my decision that I shouldn't ride. It was obvious the arm was not healing," Crutchlow explained.

"So I went home and had the week in a hyperbaric chamber at home. But the arm was still not healing and was becoming more open. Then there were two holes and in-between there was some skin and that skin was just going to split. So it would have been open in a big way.

"I went to see an orthopaedic who referred me to a plastic surgeon. He sewed it internally last Friday and honestly the arm is incredible. It’s gone completely down. It's closed. Really clean. He did a fantastic job.

"I still had the fluid from Misano in my arm. So they took that off yesterday in Doctor Mir’s office. But it shows there was a massive problem for me not to heal the way I usually heal. I'm lucky now it seems to be better. No idea how it’ll be when I ride. But at least it’s working and it never got infected. That’s the main thing."

When asked if, at the age of 34 and having suffered so many injuries, he thought 'his body was sending him messages', Crutchlow replied:

"I don't believe in that shit. I believe in hard work, dedication and going for it. If you’re telling me 'your body is telling you to stop, retire, blah blah blah'… I don't see it in that way. You get out what you put in.

"At the moment maybe luck hasn’t been on my side, but hopefully it will turn around soon and I will be fast. But what will be will be. That’s what I believe. If I'm able to be competitive, I will. If I had the job I want next year then I'll have it. If I don’t, so be it. That's life."

'I think the Aprilia job would suit me'

The job Crutchlow clearly has in mind for next year, having lost his LCR Honda seat to Alex Marquez, is the factory Aprilia seat alongside Aleix Espargaro.

"I think that job would suit me. It would also suit them. It’s a good role where I could be competitive. A lot different from what I do now. It’s a new start. Whenever I go to a new team, I go really well," he said.

"I only speak with them or Massimo [Rivola, Aprilia team manager] when I need to, because they’re waiting for the [appeal] case with Iannone. You have to respect that. That’s their decision. But I’d like to do it. And I’d like to do well on something I think I could do well on.

"I think the bike has great potential, the team has done good over the last couple of years, and I think it’d be good to develop the bike and make the team and riders and manufacturer faster, if I could."

 

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