LCR Honda rider Cal Crutchlow will undergo further surgery today after his potentially season-ending crash during practice for last weekend’s Australian Grand Prix, after falling at the Phillip Island circuit’s high-speed turn one. The Brit underwent surgery on Friday night in Melbourne to stabilise the break, but will undergo another operation today before flying back to the UK early next week.
Riding in tricky conditions that had caught out a number of other riders throughout the day, Crutchlow was caught by a gust of wind as he entered the 200mph turn, pushing him wide onto kerbs already slippery from the day’s intermittent rain. That in turn caused him to tuck the front when he tried to re-join the track, falling heavily in the gravel traps and handing hard on his right ankle, shattering the bottom of his tibia bone in three places.
He was immediately evacuated to Melbourne’s Alfred Hospital by helicopter, where he underwent surgery to have an external scaffolding attached to the break to stabilise it until swelling decreases in the ankle. The hospital will then operate again today to fix the fractures in place with a series of three internal plates, before releasing him to fly home to the UK on Monday.
The injury looks set to be a season-ender for the 33-year-old who celebrated his birthday in hospital on Monday, with doctors already advising him to spend at least eight weeks without putting weight on the foot. Locked in a battle for the top independent rider title and for fifth in the championship with Danilo Petrucci and Johann Zarco with two races to go, it nonetheless looks like Crutchlow will not be able to defend his position at even the final round in Valencia in three weeks’ time.
riders to hit out at organisers for both the time of day and time of year in which the event is held. Running early in the Australian springtime, high winds and temperatures dipping towards 10ºC caused consternation all weekend even before Crutchlow’s fall, with a 4pm local time race start compounding the issue.
Speaking after the Brit’s crash on Friday, Valentino Rossi was among the most vocal in calling for the race to be moved to earlier in the year, telling MCN that it’s something that they’ve repeatedly raised in the safety commission.
“Firstly, we pushed very hard to come here in the right moment, like in March at the start of the season – but they say it’s impossible because they have Formula One in Melbourne. OK, that’s difficult, but we’ve fought all the year in every safety commission to modify the time back to 2pm and they always say no. They say that four is better than two for the fans travelling to here, so what can we do?”