Cal Crutchlow mulls surgery again... but doesn’t want months in rehab

Is Cal Crutchlow hinting at retirement at the end of the 2020 MotoGP World Championship season as he opts to put off surgery on his ankle?

Cal Crutchlow - LCR Honda

Cal Crutchlow has revealed he is prepared to persevere through the pain barrier to avoid getting surgery on his ankle and spending months in recovery.

More than a year after the Australian MotoGP smash that left him with a shattered ankle, Crutchlow is still suffering with pain caused by the metalwork inserted into his foot and toes.

Though he can have them removed, Crutchlow reveals it is a complicated procedure that will make him more comfortable in the long-term but leave him on the back foot coming into 2020 if he’s spent the first part of testing on the sidelines.

"I have a problem with the nerve in my ankle,” he told “Like after riding just now [at Sepang], I can't feel two toes, my big toe and the next toe. And the pain if I touch that nerve is incredible.

"But I don’t want a winter of rehab again. We test in Valencia and then we test in Jerez. That means I've got to have it done in December. It's three weeks recovery from having any operation and then three weeks of rehab, to start with.

"So six weeks and that's when I'm testing [at Sepang in February]. So can I just deal with the pain? It seems worse now when I'm riding because the boot's rubbing.

"As I told you, at the start of the year it was a disaster. Middle of the year it was fine and August time it was a disaster again. Then it went good again for a month and now it's starting to get bad again.

"But it's not an easy operation, because of how much metal is in there, I need a plastic surgeon to look through the microscope and move my nerve, because you can't damage the nerve.

"I want to come back here next year [for the first 2020 test] as strong as possible. Whether having the metalwork out will be a problem, or whether not having it out will be a problem, I don’t know. But I'm more swayed towards not having it out at the moment."

Will Cal Crutchlow retire at the end of MotoGP 2020?

While Cal Crutchlow is considering putting off surgery to give him the best possible chance of being competitive in 2020, this isn’t an issue that is suddenly going to disappear.

As such, the decision to put it off until later appears to suggest he could be viewing the end of 2020 as his swansong from MotoGP – a unimpeded final flourish if you will.

It is a ‘deadline’ he has hinted at before, Crutchlow finding it increasingly difficult to keep bouncing back from myriad of injuries over the years, with this ankle break arguably his most serious based on the complexity of the recovery.

He’s also become increasingly disillusioned by the travelling at a time when his young daughter is growing up and is set to start school soon.

Together with no obvious prospects beyond his LCR Honda ride – not least because it is Johann Zarco being talked about with regards to replacing Jorge Lorenzo in the factory team – Crutchlow sees 2020 as a natural end to what will be a decade-long stint by then. To date he has won 3 races, 19 podiums and 4 pole positions.