TT Circuit Assen
Crutchlow returns in style in Dutch deluge
Courageous Cal Crutchlow made a stunning return to MotoGP action at the legendary Assen circuit today, the British rider ending a disrupted opening day of practice with the sixth fastest time.
Riding just 12 days after he broke his left collarbone in a qualifying crash for his home round at Silverstone, Crutchlow braved the pain to produce a heroic performance in treacherous conditions this morning.
Rain battered the Assen circuit, known as the The Cathedral of motorcycle racing, but Crutchlow was immediately able to regain his confidence on board his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YZR-M1 machine to post a best time of 1.50.386.
Crutchlow was confident he could imp rove his pace this afternoon but the second practice was cancelled after an oil spillage during the earlier Moto2 session. Despite the best efforts of Assen circuit staff, the spillage could not be cleared in time and all practice sessions were cancelled.
Colin Edwards was satisfied with his eighth position in this morning's session, the American showing his wet weather riding skills again less than two weeks after his fantastic third place in a rain-hit British Grand Prix.
Edwards is still regaining full fitness after he broke his right collarbone during practice for the Catalunya race earlier this month, but muscle damage around his right ribcage was causing him considerably less discomfort than in Silverstone.
The 37-year-old was able to clock a best time of 1.50.968 and he's confident further improvements to the wet set-up of his YZR-M1 will help him move further up the order with more rain forecast tomorrow.
As a result of today's disruption, Crutchlow and Edwards will take part in an extended third practice, with an extra 45 minutes added tomorrow morning.
“I was happy enough this morning but the rain has made it easier for me. I think it would be really difficult in the dry, particularly changing direction in the fast chicanes. The last chicane is quite difficult because you go from right to left and that is even worse on the shoulder. The shoulder just feels quite sore and I'm pretty cautious with it. I'm definitely aware of it and when I start to go fast I think I should slow down a bit. In the wet conditions it doesn't hurt that much, but I'm really wary because the last thing I need is another crash on it. I had a few rear grip issues with th e bike but there is no reason why we can't improve that. The track felt really slippery this morning but we need to find some rear grip on corner entry. To be honest I hope it rains all weekend because it will make it easier on me. If it's a dry race then it will be a long 26-laps on Saturday with a plate and a load of screws in my collarbone, but I will do my best as always."
I felt pretty good this morning after we came back to a setting that was similar to what used to get on the podium at Silverstone a couple of weeks ago. The first 15 minutes this morning we made some changes to the rain set-up we thought would make the bike better than what I ran in the race at Silverstone but it wasn't the step forward we expected. We were trying to get some more rear grip but it made the bike too nervous and too twitchy and I wasn't as comfortab le and confident as I felt in Silverstone. That cost me a bit of track time but once we reverted back to the setting that was close to what I used in Silverstone, I could push at my normal level. Physically I feel great. The collarbone feels fantastic and the muscle damage around the ribs I damaged in the Catalunya crash is a lot less painful. I sneezed in bed last night and didn't cry for the first time in about three weeks, so that's a bonus."
By: Tech 3 Yamaha