Fifth place in the overall MotoGP world championship standings slipped further out of Cal Crutchlow’s reach yesterday after he tumbled out of a rain-soaked Sepang race in Malaysia while battling inside the top six.
A fourth DNF in the last six races has seen Crutchlow fall 19-points behind Alvaro Bautista in fifth place in the rankings.
The British rider was looking to bounce back from the bitter disappointment of running out of fuel while battling for the podium on the last lap in Japan the previous weekend.
And he was running in a strong fifth position when he was one of several riders to succumb to appalling conditions at the Sepang International Circuit.
After making a tentative start that saw him lose five places on the opening lap, the 26-year-old brilliantly fought back into fifth when he crashed out in treacherous conditions at the final corner on lap 11.
The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team rider told MCN: “Obviously it is another big blow for the championship and it is very disappointing not to finish. The last thing I needed was another DNF, especially when I was in front of Alvaro and Valentino (Rossi) because I’d have picked up a few points back. I was confident for the race in the dry because we made a big step, even if the lap time didn't show it. But in the rain I didn’t have anywhere near enough grip. I was a bit cautious at the start because after what happened in Japan I didn’t want to throw away another load of points. I wanted to build up thinking the tyre was cold but in the end I just had zero grip. After the crash I stood at the corner and watched for a couple of laps and the grip Jorge (Lorenzo) had compared to us was unbelievable. We ran the soft like he did but I was having moments everywhere. Off throttle were the worst moments because you are not in control of the bike and it is like riding on ice. At the end of the day though the mistake was mine but I don’t think I deserve to be in the position I am in the championship. I ran out of fuel in Japan, which was really bad luck, and my pace is a lot better than my position suggests.”
The 2009 World Supersport champion said his crash came because he was having to push harder on the brakes to make up for the time lost with a lack of rear grip on corner exit.
He added: “I had to make up all my time on the brakes and I was pushing and got caught out. When I crashed the rain had really started to fall heavily and I was braking upright. I must have hit some standing water but I was down with no chance to save it.”
For seven pages of news and views from the Malaysian MotoGP race, see the October 24 issue of MCN.