Former MotoGP racer and new Yamaha test rider Cal Crutchlow has joined Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes F1), Jamie Chadwick (Williams development driver) and Mark Cavendish (cyclist) in a discussion about their need for speed.

For Crutchlow, it's the acceleration of a MotoGP bike that provides the biggest shock to the system rather than peak velocity, with the notable exception of Mugello.

"In MotoGP every year it gets faster and faster, which in a sense is great because everybody wants to go down the straight as fast as humanly possible, because it’s the easiest time made up," Crutchlow said.

"I didn't ride from the last race [of 2020] to Qatar which was two and a half months and the first lap you go out you feel like you are on a rollercoaster. You know that shock when you go on a roller-coaster and the G forces hit you. But two laps later you feel nothing. It feels normal.

"It's about the brain getting up to speed. So when your brain is getting up to speed during those first laps it's the acceleration that really gets you, but when you're doing 350k an hour down the straight it seems that you see nothing different to 150km/h.

"There's only one place where you get a sense of reality and that is the end of the straight at Mugello.

"I know Valtteri also did it last year in Formula One, you come over a blind crest with a left kink and we were doing just under 360km/h two years ago and when there are four bikes side-by-side then you get a real sense of reality.

"You also go from being on the back wheel and wheelieing over the crest, to on the front wheel on the brakes at 340km/h. But my thrill doesn’t seem to be the speed, although I don’t mind it and you have to enjoy it at some level."

Crutchlow added: "What I love about cycling is that it's the opposite to what I do. You ride at 30-35kmh training, it's a lot slower speed [than MotoGP]. Hence the reason I don’t have fast cars or road bikes because I get that racing and now testing. I have no massive passion to go really fast on the road."

But for Crutchlow's good friend Cavendish, whose day job doesn't involve petrol-power, the huge step in speed provided by a ride on a MotoGP bike was an unforgettable adrenaline experience.

"When I went on the back of the two-seater Ducati with Randy Mamola it was the best experience of my life," Cavendish said.

"It's that feeling in your tummy like when you stand at the edge of a tall building, or when you're on the limit of something… that's the best feeling in the world. It's an addictive feeling."

Although Crutchlow retired from MotoGP at the end of last season, the triple race-winner could yet return to the grid as a Yamaha wild-card or replacement rider during 2021.

"Everybody builds up that you can get a wild-card, but I retired for a reason, because I didn’t want to race!" Crutchlow said. "I'm still in the transition period from a full-time racer and I thought it would be good to still ride and not sit at home doing nothing.

"I get to ride the MotoGP bike 25 days a year, whether I'll race I honestly don’t know - but I'm the replacement rider if anyone gets injured as well and going by a normal year, yes I'll be racing at some point.

"But if I wanted to keep racing, I would have, so I'm not overly looking to do a wild-card, it just depends how things are going.

"It's so strange that I now have to help four riders that were my rivals. But it's nice. I've got Fabio Quartararo, Maverick Vinales and Franco Morbidelli that are the younger guys and then Valentino as the oldest guy in MotoGP with the most experience.

"It's funny talking to them all and good fun to try and help them improve. I just need them to ride bicycles more now!"

 

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