CRUTCHLOW CRASH COSTS HIM EASY FIFT
| | Electronics issue leaves battling Brit down and out of season-opener
Lightning struck twice for luckless Cal Crutchlow on Sunday when he crashed out of the opening round of the 2016 Motogp season – with an electronics problem virtually the same as the one that wrecked his Ducati debut at the track in 2014.
It all went wrong for the Brit when the electronics on his LCR Honda became ‘lost’ and were unable to pinpoint where he was on the circuit.
Shifting the blame from either his LCR team or Honda on to new control electronics manufacturer Magneti Marelli, Crutchlow was left with a machine that didn’t know where it was on track, causing him to enter a corner with no engine braking, resulting in a high-speed exit into the gravel.
“Something broke with the bike that wasn’t Honda’s fault or our fault, so you can imagine whose fault it is and I ended up crashing because of it,” fumed Crutchlow who was in seventh when he crashed. “I braked earlier than the lap before, yet I went into the corner 60kph faster because I had no engine braking, it was like I had pulled the clutch in.
“After lap one, the bike didn’t know where it was on the circuit. I had no speed in the straight, the traction control was coming on in second, third, fourth, fifth gear, and then the rest of the lap I would have traction control or I wouldn’t, I’d have anti-wheelie or I wouldn’t, I’d have engine brake or I wouldn’t. Basically, the bike was in the first sector and yet thought it was in the fourth sector.”
Crashing out on the seventh lap, Crutchlow admitted that the fall had come as a bitter blow considering how strong he believed his pace to be for Sunday’s race. Struggling in the early stages of the weekend to come to grips with the electronics, he said he was confident for the race.
“I kept something in my pocket all weekend; I didn’t want to show my cards. I knew in warm-up I was in good shape for the race, because we had race distance on the tyres and were still doing a good pace.
“I’m more disappointed than anything else now, because it cost me the easiest fifth place I’ve had in the past year. The pace wasn’t that high, I was sitting there comfortably and feeling great on the bike and then something that wasn’t my fault took it away.”
With a pre-season target of taking the fight to the other satellite bikes on the grid as well as the Repsol Honda factory boys, Crutchlow has been able to come away from Qatar seeing the positives, however small they might be.
“We were quick enough to be away with the factory bikes, and I felt like if I could have got away with Dani and Maverick in the next two laps, I could have gone across to the leading group - if things were working. We have to fix a few things with the bike, sure, because we had a lot of problems, but the team gave me a bike good enough to be challenging the factory guys on.”
‘I was in good shape and could have got across to the leading group’
‘I braked earlier than the lap before, yet I went into the turn 60kph faster’