It's taken 18-months for a bike-lowering holeshot device, first seen on the Ducatis during 2019 pre-season testing, to spread across the MotoGP grid.

Or nearly all of the grid anyway.

LCR Honda's Cal Crutchlow believes he is now "probably the only rider without the start device" available, his team-mate Takaaki Nakagami recently getting the system for his 2019-spec machine.

But since Crutchlow is leaving Honda at the end of this year, he understands the decision:

"I think it's completely normal that Taka gets the new stuff, the most updated stuff. He will be riding the 2021 Honda next year and I won't be, so I think it's a natural thing.

"The worse thing is that our bikes used to be really good at starts compared to the others, and then they got the holeshot devices and we started to struggle. [Now] the Honda riders who have had it for a few races seems to be getting a lot better starts.

"It means you have to try to start from the front row, which is quite difficult. But it's the way it is.

"We are still working hard and no matter what bike is underneath me I will always give 100% to try to better myself and improve the package I have with Beefy [crew chief]."

Unfortunately for Crutchlow, he only qualified in 16th place for his MotoGP return (from complications related to arm pump surgery) in Catalunya.

And despite Johann Zarco and Andrea Dovizioso crashing out at Turn 2, the Englishman was still down in 16th by the end of the opening race lap.

Crutchlow then worked his way steadily forwards, spending the final stages battling with Misano winner Maverick Vinales before taking the flag less than a second behind the Monster Yamaha rider, in tenth. The result was Crutchlow's best of the season so far.

“It was a positive day to finish the race and be in the top 10, I expected a little more but I was unable to get a good start," he said. "I always knew the start was going to be a challenging part of the race as I was probably the only rider on the grid without the start device.

"But I think we did a good job in the race to be battling with riders who had good results last week and, not having been on the bike for a long time, it was good to get race distance under my belt.

"I had some pain and problems with my arm, but I felt I didn’t finish the race too bad and with a different setting on the bike we could have been a little bit better.”

While Crutchlow awaits the possible arrival of a start device, more manufacturers are joining Ducati in expanding on the system so that it can also be used to lower the ride-height (and therefore reduce wheelies) under hard acceleration out of slow corners.

The triple MotoGP race winner is hoping to join Aprilia next season, but the factory is currently awaiting the outcome of Andrea Iannone's appeal against an 18-month doping ban.

 

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