CAL CRUTCHLOW ‘ TO OVERTAKE, YOU GO TO A MORE POWERFUL ENGINE SETTING’
“THE BIGGEST CHANGE for me was coming from Superbikes to MotoGP. I still have a Superbike style, in the way I hang off the bike. I’ve tried to change... For years I’ve tried to learn to brake with my two biggest fingers, but I can’t do it. I still brake with my outer three fingers and keep the index finger on the handlebar to open the throttle.
“Your style is your style, but sure, you have to change your technique during the race: when the grip goes, you start picking up the bike more on the exit, and when the fuel load goes down you start braking in a different way – we know what lap we can start braking with more lean angle. Marc Marquez is the only guy who brakes into corners with a lot of angle – he floats the bike.
“The Michelin front is different – we lock the tyre in a straight line, so sometimes we are locking the front at over 300kph! It’s a scary thing, so we play with the lever all the way into the corner.
“You see a lot more tyre smoke nowadays, because we’re trying to turn the bike with the rear tyre. We play with the TC a lot more in the race than what we used to, but I play with the engine management more than with the TC. You can be clever with the power management – if you want to overtake someone and you need more power, you go to a more powerful setting.
“I play with the engine-braking the most. It depends on how much grip there is. We race after Moto2 and most times it’s like a completely new track because of all the rubber. After three laps you work out what you need to change with the engine-braking and so on. Maybe the grip isn’t so good, but you leave the button alone and the grip gets better, or you might change it immediately, which makes things worse, so then you have to go back. You have to be constantly assessing the situation.
“Normally you start the race with the highest setting when there’s the best grip, then you go freer as the grip goes down, but sometimes you end up needing more as the race goes on!”
During a race, Crutchlow is constantly monitoring power and engine-braking requirements, adjusting both accordingly