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?
Sport
Is this how Mario Balotelli will cruise into Liverpool?
football
Arts and Entertainment
Alfred Molina, left, and John Lithgow in a scene from 'Love Is Strange'
film
News
A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
science
News
Dawkins: 'There’s a very interesting reason why a prince could not turn into a frog – it's statistically too improbable'
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Sport
Malky Mackay salutes the Cardiff fans after the 3-1 defeat at Liverpool on Sunday
footballFormer Cardiff boss accused of sending homophobic, racist and messages
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Amis: Taken to task over rash decisions and ill-judged statements
booksThe Zone of Interest just doesn't work, says James Runcie
Life and Style
life – it's not, says Rachel McKinnon
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
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

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home