British rider Cal Crutchlow admitted he was lucky to escape a serious leg injury after he suffered a high-speed crash during the second practice session at Laguna Seca yesterday.
The 26-year-old was pushing to improve on his sixth position when he lost the front-end of his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YZR-M1 machine at the fast Turn 10.
Crutchlow’s YZR-M1 was badly damaged in the spill but he was fortunate to walk away with just a friction burn on his right leg after his leathers tore open in the crash.
A heavy crash at Turn 3 for factory Ducati rider Valentino Rossi helped Crutchlow return to the track and keep his place inside the top six.
Rossi’s crashed Desmosedici punctured a large section of air fence that forced the session to be halted with 10 minutes left on the clock.
The delay while the damaged air fence was replaced enabled Crutchlow to change into a new set of leathers and get back out on track and the former World Supersport champion set a best time of 1.22.258 that secured him sixth place behind team-mate Andrea Dovizioso.
Crutchlow told MCN that he was lucky to have escaped with only a relatively small graze on his right thigh and he said: “The leathers came open and I was lucky. If I would have turned it probably would have ripped half the muscle off my leg. Obviously it is not good that the leathers spilt open. It's just a cut and friction burn but my body is fine."
Explaining what had happened in the spill, Crutchlow added: "I went in a little bit faster with a little more lean angle and I never had enough grip. Dani (Pedrosa) was in front and he went in faster than me so it shows we need to improve. If a guy is going in faster than me and he hasn't crashed and I have, we need improve the setting or be a little different in that corner.”
Crutchlow said his main issue is getting his YZR-M1 stopped on corner entry and the problem was mystifying when comparing data to Italian Dovizioso, who finished fifth fastest.
He said: “I don't how many times I can explain it to the guys but I go into the corner, shut off and brake in the same place as Dovi but I need nearly double the amount of brake pressure to stop. I'm a couple of kilos heavier but not that much. It shouldn't be a massive difference, but the bike just does not stop. On the data the shape and everything looks perfect but just in the middle of the braking I have to squeeze the brakes so much more. The deceleration speed is crap but the corner speed is the same.”