Photography by Andrea Wilson
AUSTIN, TX, APR. 12 - Ducati’s Cal Crutchlow will start tomorrow’s Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas from the third row, the Brit crashing at low speed near the end of the session after lapping at a best of 2:03.780. Although he has the option to use the soft compound tire that’s available to the Open class entrants, Crutchlow said he wouldn’t use it in tomorrow’s race. Or any race for that matter.
“At the minute I refuse to race the soft tire,” Crutchlow said. “I don’t agree with the policy that I have to use the soft tire to go fast. I hate that. In my own head it’s like we should make our bike be able to go fast with the same tires of everyone else. Not have to take advantage of using the softer tire. Even if we could race it, I probably wouldn’t race it anyway.”
Crutchlow can take solace from being the fastest of the Ducatis, besting Pramac’s Andrea Iannone and the Brit’s factory teammate Andrea Dovizioso.
“Yes and no, sure,” Crutchlow said when asked if he’s happy to be the fastest Ducati. “I thought I could’ve gone faster. I was going faster on the lap that I tipped over. But we’re losing three tenths in one sector to the other Ducatis. We need to have a look and analyze why. A lot of it’s in the straight; the fairing of the bike is too small for my shoulders. Simple. I can’t get tucked in anymore on the bike. I’m just aerodynamically not the best with this bike. It always hits my shoulders so we’re losing 5k an hour and a 10th in the straight to the other Ducati’s, which is not good enough really. We need to make a new fairing to compensate. The fairing on the Yamaha was wider here so I didn’t lose as much; here I lost 1k, 2ks to the other Yamaha riders.’
And back to those tires…
“Yeah we need to go back and have a look. We need to make our bike fast on the harder tire, our option harder tire, which is the other guy’s soft because I’m sick of having to use a soft tire to go as fast as the other guys. We shouldn’t have to do that; we should create some more grip.”
Crutchlow grinned when asked about his crash in turn 11.
“I was pushing too hard. But I crashed at I don’t know, I think maybe 28k/hour [17 mph]. It was really, really slow that is for sure. We can’t turn the bike in so we have hold the brake into the corner to stop the bike and make the bike turn. I held it too tight and for too long. But yeah it was a first gear crash at 28k an hour. But I got a speeding fine [on pit lane] that was 40k over.”