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Assen MotoGP: Barbera cost me front row, says Cal Crutchlow

Published: 29 June 2012

Updated: 24 November 2014

British rider Cal Crutchlow blasted Spanish rival Hector Barbera for costing him the chance to score a fourth front row start of 2012 at the historic Assen circuit in Holland this afternoon.

Crutchlow looked on course to secure at least third place on the grid on his final lap of a rain disrupted qualifying session when he came across Barbera slowing on the racing line.

The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team rider believes he could have posted a lap in the high 1.33 bracket, but having come across Barbera’s Pramac Ducati he had to settle for a 1.34.486 that put him fifth on the grid for tomorrow’s 26-lap Dutch TT.

Today’s incident was not the first time that Barbera has been strongly criticised by his rivals for cruising and looking for a tow off a faster rider to help him improve his lap time.

Casey Stoner and Jorge Lorenzo have both launched furious attacks on his strategy and Crutchlow told MCN: “I think Andrea (Dovizioso) thought I was following him when I was actually two seconds behind but it was Barbera that was sat up his arse.

"But when Barbera shut off he just cruised around three corners and I had to follow him. He is an idiot. This guy is an arse. He does it every session following Lorenzo and he goes fast for one lap and then finishes 12th in the race.

"It definitely cost me the front row. I’m on the second row and it makes no difference now but I could have been on the front row. The aim is to be up there in the race but there is a big gap that shouldn’t have been there.

"I said to the guys before I went out that I could do a 33 but I did a 34.4 because I was riding around for five corners behind some idiot. But he does that all the time."

Crutchlow doubts whether he has the pace over race distance to fight for a maiden podium tomorrow, with Lorenzo, Stoner and Repsol Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa going off the front row of the grid.

Crutchlow is still riding in considerable discomfort from the broken left ankle he suffered in a practice crash for his home race at Silverstone 13 days ago and he has struggled to get his YZR-M1 stopped in some of the hard braking zones at Assen.

He added: “It is going to be difficult to be on the podium. Our set-up is not perfect and we have been chasing our tail a little bit but it is nice to be up there.

"The hard or soft tyre makes no difference. I have been going fast on the soft but I was also 0.1s off on the hard tyre this morning. The race pace will be high 34s but I think it will be Dani, Casey and Lorenzo battling at the front again.

"If I can be the best of the rest considering all things and I don’t really like the track, I will be happy. Consistency is the key for me this season and as I said at the start of the weekend I’ll be aiming to be in the top six and grab some more points.”

Aside from the throbbing pain from his left ankle, the former World Supersport champion said his biggest issue with the injury is downshifting gears.

He said: “If I have to shift back more than one gear it is difficult. I tend to hold the clutch instead of doing my normal style. I normally have one clutch release per change but if I do three gear changes now I just release the clutch once.

"Valentino (Rossi) and Dovi and other riders do that but my style is different and that is hindering me. My ankle is not an excuse though.”

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