Cal Crutchlow surgery adds to Honda’s MotoGP headache

Cal Crutchlow joins Marc Marquez on the Honda injury sidelines as he awaits surgery on his wrist following a crash ahead of the Spanish MotoGP

Cal Crutchlow - LCR Honda [1200]

Cal Crutchlow is confident he will be passed fit to compete in this weekend’s Andalusian MotoGP despite being forced to skip the season opener due to a concussion and a wrist injury sustained in a morning warm-up crash.

The Briton qualified sixth on the grid in Spain but a fall during the closing stages of Sunday’s short pre-race session resulted in a bang to the head that would force him to sit out the remainder of the weekend.

Further checks went on to reveal a fracture of the scaphoid bone in his wrist, which will force him to undergo arthroscopic surgery to insert a small pin today [Tuesday]. Nevertheless, Crutchlow is confident he will be able to resume his place on the grid in Jerez this weekend.

“Unfortunately, this morning in the last lap of the warm-up I crashed going into turn eight," Crutchlow said. "It seemed that when I braked on the kerb, the front of the bike slid and I was unable to save the crash.

"What was going to be a normal crash escalated when I went into the deep gravel trap and started tumbling, hitting my head quite a few times, particularly my face. I was a bit dazed after the crash, and a bit sore in my whole body, especially my hands.

“After further assessment at the medical centre I was sent for the CT scan on my head and neck and it all came back fine. With the facial bruising I had, however, Dr. Angel Charté felt I needed eight hours rest, which I think was the right decision."

“When I returned to the circuit, I began to feel some pain in my left wrist, so went for another scan of the scaphoid, which it seems has been broken in the crash," Crutchlow confirmed.

"Dr. Mir will operate on the wrist in Barcelona on Tuesday morning, and I will return to the circuit on Friday and hopefully to action. I look forward to seeing the LCR Honda Castrol Team there, and hopefully to work hard with them again next weekend.”

Honda MotoGP challenge to be halved in Jerez?

While Crutchlow remains confident he will be in action again this weekend, his issues coupled to those of Marc Marquez threaten to leave Honda well short of a full-strength line-up for round two.

While Marquez has almost single-handedly delivered multiple titles to Honda over the years, his (probable) absence this weekend leaves it vulnerable even before you consider its next strongest asset Crutchlow won’t be at his optimum.

It goes a long way to explaining why Honda rather bluntly shifted Alex Marquez out of the factory team in favour of Pol Espargaro for the 2021 MotoGP season. While the rookie will certainly need time to get up to speed in MotoGP, it wasn’t a sparkling debut weekend for the youngster, who was largely rooted to the back of the pack from start-to-finish.

By contrast, Brad Binder – who finished runner-up to Marquez in the Moto2 World Championship last year – wasn’t far off team-mate Espargaro’s pace on the KTM and was running inside the top ten early before a mistake dropped him back. Regardless, he still finished ahead of Marquez.

If neither Marquez and Crutchlow are unable to race this weekend, Honda could draft in test rider Stefan Bradl but in reality its hopes still then rest with Alex Marquez and Takaaki Nakagami on a year-old RC213V.