MotoGP: Crutchlow put on back foot by mystery spill

 

Silverstone

The British hope Cal Crutchlow lost the chance of a fourth front-row MotoGP start of the year here yesterday when he mysteriously plunged off his 1000cc Yamaha YZR-M1 on a slowing-down lap during a practice session and was taken to hospital with foot and ankle injuries.

The 26-year-old, who has been the sensation of the season in only his second year of MotoGP racing, was initially treated at the circuit's medical centre before being transferred to hospital in Oxford for further analysis of the damage.

If Crutchlow is fit to race a machine that delivers around 280 horsepower, and will be allowed to start at the back of the grid, he will be left to scramble for only a handful of points.

It is the second consecutive year that Crutchlow has fallen in front of his home crowd before even reaching the Sunday race, inevitably provoking both criticism and sympathy in the paddock. Was the slip the result of too much pressure to perform in front of his home fans? Was he being too negligent on cold tyres on a chilly day?

But the German Stefan Bradl and the Colombian Yonny Hernandez also fell during the session, and even the experience of nine world championships could not prevent Valentino Rossi from crashing in the subsequent qualifying session. Rossi's Ducati team-mate, Nicky Hayden, also plunged off.

"The problem was not a cold tyre, because we always heat the tyres with tyre warmers," Crutchlow's team owner, Herv Poncharal, said.

If Crutchlow is able to start today, his aim will surely be to conduct a damage-limitation ride and continue his tradition of scoring in every MotoGP round so far this year. Points are awarded down to 15th place, and there will be only 20 starters, so he may yet have an opportunity to thread through the tail-end of the pack on a machine that will be touching 180mph on the fastest parts of the 3.6-mile Northamptonshire track.

The 27-year-old Spanish rider Alvaro Bautista will start in a surprise pole position today after a rain shower came down with only eight minutes of the one-hour qualifying session remaining.

Crutchlow's spill comes at a critical point in his career, as his contract with the French-based Tech3 team expires at the end of this year, and there only two vacant seats left on the four bikes Yamaha field in their official factory team and the satellite Tech3 squad.

Even if he can't ride at Silverstone, Crutchlow will want to be back in the saddle for the Dutch MotoGP on 30 June to reinforce his claim to be one of MotoGP's brightest future stars.

The rain that forestalled the usual flurry of hot laps in the closing minutes of yesterday's qualifying session left Bautista to revel in the first pole position of his career, finishing ahead of seven factory bikes on his privately entered Honda Gresini. Also capitalising on the chilly and gusty conditions was the American Ben Spies, who recorded his best qualifying performance of the year to finish in second place on his factory Yamaha YZR-M1. Reigning champion Casey Stoner completes the front row on his Repsol Honda.

The current MotoGP championship leader, Spain's Jorge Lorenzo on the second factory Yamaha, will start from the second row alongside his title rival Dani Pedrosa on a Honda. Both will want to bustle past the front-row occupants, especially the enigmatic Stoner.

At only 26 years of age, with clear potential to increase his existing tally of two world championships, his decision to retire at the end of the year has not prompted him to treat this year as a kind of high-speed gardening leave. He is urging on his engineers to cure a tyre-chatter problem on the Honda RC213V, and aims to climb back to the top of the podium in today's 20-lap contest.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

Pot of gold

Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore