MotoGP

Crutchlow: My ankle feels alright on the bike but off it…

Cal Crutchlow says his ankle feels “better than expected” when riding but off his LCR Honda it is “like I’ve been hit by a bus every morning”

Cal Crutchlow says his ankle feels “better than expected” when riding his LCR Honda MotoGP bike but concedes when off it he feels “like I’ve been hit by a bus every morning”.

The British rider made his test comeback at Sepang to mark his first MotoGP action since suffering a nasty ankle break in a crash during practice at Phillip Island last October.

Crutchlow ended the final day of the Sepang test as the fastest Honda in sixth place, 0.541s off the new unofficial lap record set by Danilo Petrucci on the factory Ducati, but felt he could have gone faster after crashing on a quick lap using the softest Michelin compounds.

Despite suffering two falls during the Sepang test, one on day two and one of day three, the LCR Honda rider was unharmed and pleasantly surprised by the feeling with his ankle on the RC213V.

“It’s better than expected. I feel worse than a week ago, but you’re going to after three days testing,” Crutchlow said. “I expected it to be worse over the week. It seems at night I’m able to get the swelling down.

“It hurts today [Friday]. My toes were hurting, which I haven’t had for months. It got quite achy. But I have no problem with it. It’s still slow – I’m slow to move my foot around the rear brake and the peg. But other than that, I feel in good shape considering I had three months off the bike.

“Don’t get me wrong – I feel like I’ve been hit by a bus every morning I wake up.

“When I’m on the bike I’m alright. It’s when I get off… Physically on the bike I feel I’ve prepared well and done the training I need to do to be here.”

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Having been injured for the two post-season tests at Valencia and Jerez last November, Crutchlow also accepts he’s needing to play catch-up to adjust his feeling and dial in settings with the 2019-specificaiton Honda.

But despite the steep learning curve he doesn’t feel the problems of front-end stability are carried over from last year.

“You have to take my crashes different because when we normally crash with the front end with the Honda we over-stress the front and crash,” he explained. “My front end feeling at the moment is the complete opposite. I feel I don’t have the load like last year.

“Maybe they have improved it and we need to adapt the setting to that. We have to understand the Honda front end is our strong point. A lot of the times it’s the riders being too greedy with the front. We keep taking advantage until it gives up.

“But it’s not always like that. We see videos of other manufacturers and they’re more competitive than us. In a race situation we are strong in that area it seems. I don’t know.

“I got to ride both bikes this week. I know what the other one felt like. But I missed two tests on the ’19 bike. For me to adapt to the bike, and for the team to adapt to how we want it to feel, maybe I have to adapt.”

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