Assen MotoGP: Cal Crutchlow bemoans front tyre problem

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Cal Crutchlow was denied the chance to score a career best MotoGP finish in Assen yesterday after a front tyre problem struck while he was leading Valentino Rossi in fourth position.

The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team rider was forced to pit at the halfway stage of the 26-lap race for a new front tyre after his soft compound selection quickly lost grip on a cold track.

The 25-year-old, riding just over a week since surgery to pin and plate the left collarbone he broke at Silverstone, eventually finished in 14th position.

He said: “Looking at the positives I got a fantastic start and for the first few laps I was running close to the front in a MotoGP race for the first time. I felt confident I could keep Valentino behind me but then after about five or six laps I started struggling with the front tyre on the right side.

“I had no choice but to come in and change it because if I had carried on pushing it was going to be easy to crash and that’s the last thing I need to be doing at the moment. Having only had surgery on my left collarbone just over a week ago I just couldn’t afford to have another crash.

“Without that I’ve no doubt I’d have finished fourth but I’ve proved again I’ve got the speed and shown that I can race with the best in this class. It wasn’t the final result we wanted but I can’t change it and I still learned a lot.”

Crutchlow ran the exact same Bridgestone front that eventual winner Ben Spies and Jorge Lorenzo used, but bizarrely an identical issue struck team-mate Colin Edwards.

Texan Edwards eventually finished seventh after his pace dramatically slowed when he was running as high as fifth.

Edwards, who was also hampere byd a right arm pump issue, said: “That wasn’t an easy race at all and to be honest I’m happy I made it to the finish. I was feeling really good and catching Valentino and Cal when I went through the second corner and lost the front.

“I thought it was just because I was pushing but the next corner the same thing happened and from that moment it was really difficult. Each time I was in a right-hander I couldn’t turn but that wasn’t my only issue.

“After about ten laps I got really bad arm pump. I’ve got no upper body strength with the rib injury from Catalunya, so to compensate I was doing everything with my arms and at one stage, the combination of the two issues meant I thought I was going to have to pull in.

“It was a case of gritting my teeth and getting some points but we’ll analyse what happened because Ben (Spies) won the race on the soft front tyre. Our bike isn’t set-up completely different, so we’ll have to talk to Bridgestone, but hats off to Ben because he’s done an awesome job all weekend and rode a great race.”

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt