Cal Crutchlow expecting tough weekend in Japan

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Bad weather and the brutal braking and hard acceleration characteristics of the Twin Ring Motegi track will make it a tough task for Cal Crutchlow to be in podium contention in Japan again this weekend.

The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider suffered late heartache in Japan a year ago when he ran out of fuel on the last lap while battling for the podium with Spaniard Alvaro Bautista.

Strong winds and heavy rain are expected to dominate tomorrow and Saturday’s practice and qualifying sessions and ahead of a potentially dry 24-lap on Sunday.

Crutchlow, who is closing on his much anticipated Ducati debut in Valencia next month, told MCN: “If it rains for two days and then we have a dry race it will be tough for everybody. Our bike is different to last year’s, so we are not sure if last year’s race set-up will work. But I rode well last year and I was battling for the podium, but it is clearly a Honda track. We know how much we will lose to the factory Yamaha here, let alone with the factory Hondas with the seamless shift gearbox out of these big acceleration corners. We will lose a lot of time but I won’t give up and worry about it.”

Crutchlow narrowly missed scoring a fifth podium of the season in a unique dry flag-to-flag race at Phillip Island five days ago when he was beaten to third by Valentino Rossi by just over 0.1s.

When asked if he could carry last weekend’s momentum into this weekend’s penultimate round of the season, the Isle of Man-based rider said: “It is hard to say but to be able to fight with Valentino week in and week out is good for me. He is on a factory bike and I’m not and it was disappointing not to take that podium last weekend. I felt I could have took it but I didn’t know it was the last lap and it was completely my own fault.”

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt