Cal Crutchlow experienced relief and regret in equal measure after the British rider produced a heroic ride to sixth place with a broken left ankle at Silverstone. The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider was a major doubt for his home race for the second year in succession after he broke and dislocated his left ankle in a practice crash on Saturday morning.
The Coventry rider needed to pass late medical checks before getting clearance to ride moments before the start of the pre-race warm-up session. But having missed qualifying, Crutchlow was forced to start from the back row of the grid.
By the end of the second lap, Crutchlow had already passed all nine CRT machines to move into 11th but Valentino Rossi was 3.3s clear in 10th. Despite the considerable discomfort caused when changing direction and shifting gears, Crutchlow passed Rossi for 10th on Lap 6 and he then superbly hunted down Hector Barbera and Stefan Bradl to seize seventh by Lap 11.
Crutchlow continued to grit his teeth and ride through the pain barrier but his hopes of a top six seemed remote when he trailed Nicky Hayden by seven seconds on Lap 12. Roared on by his home crowd, Crutchlow set a stunning pace that matched the leading group and a remarkable charge through the field was complete when he secured sixth from Hayden on the final lap with a brilliant overtake at the fast Maggotts Corner.
Crutchlow was relieved to have started the race and been able to put on a dazzling show for 66,000 British fans, who rewarded the 26-year-old with a standing ovation. But his superhuman effort was tinged with some regret as Crutchlow had demonstrated podium pace throughout and at times in the second half of the 20-lap race only eventual winner Jorge Lorenzo was faster.
Crutchlow received a standing ovation after his performance at Silverstone but was frustrated that he wasn’t able to contend with Lorenzo for the win.
“I’ve got mixed emotions because I think I did a good job because the fans turned up and probably didn’t expect to see me ride,” said Crutchlow. “I finished sixth and moved back into fourth in the championship with a strong ride but I should have been on the front row and challenging Lorenzo for a win.”
Talking about the crash that threatened to rule him out of Silverstone again after a broken left collarbone sidelined him 12 months ago, the 2009 World Supersport champion said: “I was p****d off and angry because it was a stupid mistake that I made last year and I did it again this year. Three riders crashed on the same lap and we were the only three to re-heat the tire from the night before, so something was maybe wrong. I was coming into change the bike that lap so I wasn’t pushing but I crashed the bike and I am not blaming anybody. When I was lying there I didn’t think much because I didn’t know I was down. Apparently I was lying there for three laps but I didn’t know I was. I wasn’t unconscious because I had my eyes open and I could hear bikes. I thought I was there for 30 seconds but they said I was there for six minutes.”
Crutchlow had to plead with medical staff to let him race having initially been ruled out and told to take complete rest for four weeks. But he will avoid surgery and try and speed up the recovery process by going into a hyperbaric chamber this week on the Isle of Man before the next race in Assen.
He said: “I don’t want an operation. They said a pin could be put in it but the specialist I saw said it would be eight to 10 weeks off my foot. I’ll go back to the Isle of Man and use the hyperbaric chamber to see if that speeds the process up. For the next two weeks I’ll be off my feet. The TV never caught the crash and it looked like I lost the front but I lost the rear. It wasn’t the slap on the floor that did the damage but the amount of times I rolled. I don’t like rollercoasters as it is.”
Crutchlow said there is no doubt about his participation in the famous Dutch TT on June 30, adding: “If they pass me fit here they have got to pass me fit in Assen. I’ve got to rest up and see if I can come back in Assen stronger. This was my home Grand Prix and the goal was to be on the podium and it never happened. The best I could do was sixth but it took me a while to get by the CRT guys. I was a bit cautious but after that it went ok. If I could have started from the front row I could have challenged Lorenzo.”
Crutchlow still does not have a contract in place for 2013 and will look closely at any factory ride that might be offered.
Crutchlow: Lorenzo Signing Changes Nothing
Crutchlow says Lorenzo’s decision to sign a new two-year contract with Yamaha’s factory MotoGP squad has little impact on his own future. Lorenzo has penned a deal for 2013 and ’14 with Yamaha, despite rumors of big interest from Honda to capture the Spaniard as replacement for Casey Stoner.
Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Crutchlow still has no contract in place for 2013 but says Lorenzo’s deal changes very little regarding his own situation. He always felt that he would be in a battle with Ben Spies and Tech 3 teammate Andrea Dovizioso for one factory YZR-M1 seat next season.
The Tech 3 Team has only one place available too, having signed Moto2 rider Bradley Smith on a two-year MotoGP deal last September and Crutchlow said: “It doesn’t change much more for me because I kind of knew he (Lorenzo) was going to sign with Yamaha. A place might still be up for grabs with him next season but I am not too sure. If there is an opportunity of a factory ride then I will definitely be looking at it no matter which team it is with. I’ve spoken to Yamaha to see if it was possible to get a factory bike in Tech 3 and that’s not an option, so I need to keep my options open. I’d love to stay with Tech 3. I’ve got a great crew and everybody is working great and I’d like to keep my association with Yamaha. That is my priority but I have to look at something else if they can’t offer me what I want.”
Crutchlow said Lorenzo’s signing was a fantastic mid-season boost for Yamaha. The 2010 world champion leads the current rankings by 25 points after winning four of the opening six races.
“I think it is a great move by Yamaha and Jorge,” said Crutchlow. “They have a special relationship and they both fit perfectly. His riding style suits the bike perfectly and he is a great guy that fits well into a great company. They have done a great job to get it done so fast. It is good that they have secured him for two more years and now everybody else can start shuffling around. I did think he was serious about going to Honda but you kept hearing there was no communication and then there was. I don’t know but at the end of the day I think he was always going to stay at Yamaha. Honda might have been an option for him but I think it is great that he is staying with Yamaha.”