Cal Crutchlow’s pre-season MotoGP testing came to a painful end when he was ‘torpedoed in the nuts’ by his own LCR Honda after falling on the final night in Qatar.
The Englishman had made a late charge up the timesheets to fifth, which at the time made him the only RC213V rider in the top ten, then this happened:
“[The bike] went up about six foot in the air and just came straight down on my bollocks, the rear wheel. I had to have ultrasound on my balls!
“It’s so funny, here [pointing] is killing me. It never even hit here, and it’s absolutely killing me. They say that when the baby’s in the stomach, until six or seven months, your balls are up here, and then they drop down.
“So that’s why it’s hurting. It’s f**king killing me. The bike torpedoed me in the nuts.”
Turning to the reason for the accident, on a night when numerous riders fell, Crutchlow explained:
“[I was] middle of the corner. I went round the corner 0.1kph faster. And I opened the throttle later. You would think I opened it earlier, because I just lost the front with the throttle open. But I had less throttle and 0.1kph faster.
“Three laps before that, I’d been 3kph faster, and there was nothing wrong with that lap. So you just don’t know. Literally, you are sometimes even slower than you were on the lap before, and you crash.
“It’s one of those things where suddenly it can close [the front]. We’ve seen it with a lot of people’s crashes when they’ve had no front feeling, that’s what it’s like. But it’s not necessarily the Honda, it’s just what’s been happening for a lot of us.
“So it’s more of a tyre thing, to be honest. I was on a long run, that wasn’t intended to be a long run, but I just left the pit lane and continued to go. But I already had ten laps on the tyres when I left the pit lane. So then it was just under race distance when I crashed, and the lap time was OK, I was faster again on the lap that I crashed.
“I’m looking forward to the new front tyre coming, because this one’s too soft for us, and the other one, the other one’s not too hard for us, it’s just that you can’t use it with these temperatures or with the dew on the track. So we need the one in the middle, which they are bringing.
“Aoyama did his long run on it, and it was apparently better. But not all the riders had it, only the test rider had it.”
Crutchlow went on to finish the night in seventh place, 0.782s from Yamaha pace setter Jorge Lorenzo but only 0.190s from the fastest Honda of Marc Marquez, who made late progress to fourth place.
“From where we were yesterday, we seem to have improved a little bit. But it’s tough and difficult, from the point of view that it’s still tough for all the Honda riders. It’s not coming easy at all.
“We’ve gained half a second because we’re pushing harder. We haven’t suddenly just grabbed something. But we’ve confirmed a few things with Honda, and we’ll now start to work.
“The problem for us at the moment is that the bike is very physical to ride, same as last year. Maybe even worse than last year, when we wanted it to be easier.
“We fight a lot with the bike still. We know Qatar is special and for Honda over the years it’s not been the greatest. So maybe at some other circuits it might be a little bit better.”
The Qatar season-opener will be held at Losail from March 17-20