LCR Honda MotoGP rider Cal Crutchlow said that issues with both his front and rear Michelin tyres prevented him from battling closer to the front of his home Grand Prix at Silverstone, with the Brit eventually finishing in sixth place.
Starting from the third row, Crutchlow believed he was one of a number of riders who had the pace to challenge at the sharp end of the field. Crutchlow however, realised very quickly that he didn’t have the grip he should’ve leaving him checking what was happening with his tyres.
“I had no grip from lap one, I had a problem with the rear tyre, again,” said the Brit who said the issues were the same as what he had faced earlier in the year at Mugello.
“We don’t know what it is, we don’t know why it happened, I had a problem with the rear tyre. There’s no way in the world that Petrucci can be 1.5 seconds a lap faster at the end of the race than us. That’s not against Danilo, he’s obviously a great rider, but the difference if just ridiculous. Some tyres held up and some didn’t.
“Some of the other guys were really in trouble as well, but I knew from lap one that I never had the grip underneath me to be able to fight. I tried, at one point in the race I thought it was still possible, after about five laps, but then it was just a disaster. Yes, I had a lot more problems with the rear tyre than the front, but I closed the front, but I closed the front three times in the last corner.
“Two laps on the race I stopped and looked over the front wheel, out of turn one, so I lost a lot of time there, we just never had the tyres underneath us today, it’s as simple as that. We had a competitive enough package to be there. I don’t think I would’ve run the race, but I would’ve battled definitely.
“The pace that Marc, Rins and Maverick had was superior, but it depends on the tyre you have underneath you to battle. I don’t think the lap times were way ahead of what I could do, because yesterday in FP4 I had 23-laps with the tyres and I was still doing mid-two minutes, and today I was doing 2:02’s and that doesn’t happen. Yesterday there was not a problem with the tyre and today again there was.”
The British weather was unusually warm this weekend, with ambient temperatures north of 30 degrees Celsius. When asked if it was an issue with the actual tyre, or the tyres not holding up to the high track temperatures and newly resurfaced tarmac, he said: “Petrucci behind us was going 1.5 seconds a lap faster. It doesn’t happen like that. If we’re all supposed to be on the same tyre, 1.5 seconds is ridiculous. I have nothing great to say about that situation.
“As I said, I don’t think I was the only one with trouble. If you look at Valentino, I think he was in big trouble as well. This morning he was doing 59’s for fun. It’s not right, something strange happened today.
“I saw Jack’s left hand side of the tyre was worn, but after the race I think mine was more worn than his. Talking about pieces missing, you’ll have to speak to Michelin, but it was bad, put it that way. The right-hand side was worse than the left for me, and the left was non-existent at the end of the race.
“As I said, Petrucci, a guy who’s quite hard on the tyre and tyre consumption is going 1.5 seconds a lap faster at the end of the race. That’s not right, there’s something very, very strange. I didn’t burn the tyre up at the start of the race, I had no grip from lap one.”
Crutchlow said that the issues were so unusual, that he almost lost the front end on multiple occasions through the fast right-handed final corner. Despite this, Crutchlow said that he didn’t ever think about coming in and retiring from the race.
“No, because the problem was, I didn’t know what was going on,” he said when asked if he considered pulling in.
“Sure, I was spinning, the thing was shaking everywhere, this than and the other, you just continue to ride. When you have the rear tyre problem, you can also manage it a lot more than the front, as you have the throttle in your hand. Off throttle, you can’t, you have a lot of floating with the bike trying to high-side you off throttle. But all you do is open the throttle and try to manage it with your hard.
“But the front, you have to brake, and you have to go into the corner. When I had a problem with the front, losing the front in fifth gear around the last corner, I can tell you is not great. Jack was laughing after the race; said he was wondering what I was doing. It’s not an ideal situation.
“I tried my best today and I felt I had good pace this weekend. I honestly thought I could’ve been much further ahead. I was 19 seconds (off the win), 19 seconds is not the reality. I think that with the tyres under me, and my pace probably would’ve been behind Vinales, but you never know what’s going to happen.
“I was competitive all weekend except for qualifying. My FP4 pace yesterday was really good, I was able to do the lap times with really old tyres, but today it was non-existent. It’s not that I can’t ride on used tyres, it’s usually when I get faster in the race, today from lap one it was impossible.”