Crutchlow slams 'ridiculous' jump start penalty - UPDATED

'I'm balancing on my toes... I don't believe they would have given this penalty to Marc, Vale, Dovi' - Cal Crutchlow, Argentina MotoGP.
Crutchlow slams 'ridiculous' jump start penalty - UPDATED

UPDATE: Race Direction has released the side camera footage of Crutchlow's jump start:

Cal Crutchlow's hopes of a podium finish in Sunday's Argentina MotoGP were sunk by a 'ridiculous' jump start penalty.

The LCR Honda rider claimed specialist camera footage of his grid position available to the FIM Stewards Panel showed he moved by less than a centimetre.

Crutchlow insisted that movement was while using his toes to balance himself on the bike and his clutch was still fully engaged until the lights went out.

"If you look at the side camera, which is what they showed me, I moved. But not even a centimetre," Crutchlow said. "I'm balancing on my toes.

"It's not that I've released the clutch. Because we can show that the clutch is fully to the bar, and then I released the clutch once. So, if there's a big gap from the clutch lever to the bite of the clutch - it's not that I'm holding it on the bike and rolling it.

"I'm balancing. And they're saying it's a jump start. It's just ridiculous."

Under the rules, had Crutchlow moved before the lights went out but then stopped, he may have avoided a penalty.

'I never gained anything'

But Crutchlow was especially critical of Freddie Spencer, a 27-time grand prix winner and triple world champion who has taken over the role of Chairman of the FIM MotoGP Stewards Panel this season with the aim of better understanding what happens on track from the point of view of the riders.

"Somebody who has been brought in to understand racing, and understand the racer's point of view with regards to passing and incidents on the track, as far as I'm concerned he should…

"I'm not saying give me the benefit of the doubt, because I did nothing wrong. I'm not rolling [on the clutch] at all. I'm literally balancing on my toe. It's just ridiculous, completely ridiculous. But I can't change it.

"At the next Safety Commission [meeting] when we show the video, the other riders will laugh, and they will then lose the respect for him as well.

"This is just ridiculous. I never gained anything. It makes it look worse that I made a fantastic start. But there's no way I'm rolling when the lights went out. But that's just the way it is."

'Do you think he would have given Valentino a ride through?'

Controversially, Crutchlow also feels such a marginal penalty call would not have been made against some of the other riders.

"My problem that I have with Race Direction is that I don't believe they would have given this penalty to Marc, Vale, Dovi, or someone like that. And that's the truth.

"Do you think he would have given Valentino a ride through? I'm not picking on Valentino or any one rider, I'm talking about somebody with a high profile. I don't believe he would have.

"Say Marc had done that, and he was leading the race, do you think he would have given him a ride through? I don't. That's my opinion though. Of course he's going to say he would, but I don't agree with that.

"But he's made a fantastic name for himself in his role. I have the utmost respect for what he did as a rider, but the Safety Commission, we asked for somebody that understands racing, that's going to have some discretion and understanding of the rules and what's gaining and what's not gaining, what's bad passes and what's not bad passes...

"It's just ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous."

A furious Crutchlow was seen heading straight for Race Direction after the grand prix.

"When I went up there, Freddie Spencer didn't say one word to me. He just stood there with his arms folded….

"I was in there ten minutes, complaining and saying that I was not moving. My whole team was. But not one of [the Stewards Panel] said one word.

"It sounds like I'm on an absolute rampage and attack against them, but you have to understand the way that I'm feeling, and you have to understand the way that every single person that I've asked, that sees it on TV, is feeling. That I never jumped the start.

"It needs looking at, because it's just ruined a whole grand prix for 50 staff and me.

"But this is the way it is. I have accepted it, I have to move on, I have to do a good race in Texas, and I think we can."

Crutchlow, on the podium in round one and expecting to fight for the rostrum again in Argentina, eventually finished in 13th place.

'Cal's movement at the start was irrelevant. Really nothing'

LCR team principal Lucio Cecchinello said: “I am absolutely disappointed with what the Race Direction have done with us today. The penalty that Cal got was tremendously hard and his movement at the start was irrelevant, really irrelevant. We’re talking about 1.5 or 2 centimetres, it’s really nothing.

"However, we cannot do very much, all we can do is put forward our opinion at the next [safety] committee meeting that the penalty for this kind of infringement is far too hard. There is no relation between the potential gain of a couple of a centimetres compared to the 30-second penalty you get doing a ride through.”

There have been suggestions that the new 'long lap' penalty loop should be used for some marginal jump starts, rather than a race-wrecking ride-through penalty.

"If you jump the start, and just set off like a madman, then I understand a ride through," Crutchlow said. "But that penalty today didn't fit the crime for sure, because I didn't jump the start."