LCR Honda

Moto GP – Crutchlow tops timesheet on day one of testing in Thailand

Screen Shot 2018-02-16 at 15.09.02

Despite suffering an early crash, LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow got his Thai testing off to a flier as he topped the timesheets on Friday.

He said: “I had a not too bad day considering we’ve not been to the circuit before, I think only a couple of guys have, but I think we’ve continued to ride well after Malaysia.

“I didn’t have a good day this morning and I’ve had jet lag. I didn’t feel great. I didn’t feel psychically tired but I wanted to sleep! But maybe if I did that on a race weekend I could go a lot quicker…!”

Joking aside, the Brit did crash in the morning – a minor tip off at the last corner with no damage to man or machine. He said:  “I crashed this morning on the fifth lap or something but I wasn’t concentrating so well. There are a few bumps on the last corner and it’s a tricky corner. But that’s why we’re here to test.”

On the specifics of testing, Crutchlow was positive – especially about the engine.

“I felt good in Malaysia and the HRC engineers over the winter have done a good job,” affirms the two-time Grand Prix winner.

“Last year we were lacking something but this year we’ve found it. We still have some of the same problems, but we’ve found something this year that’s helped us to be more competitive. I’m pleased with how the team’s working. And they’ve definitely improved the engine. Acceleration I’m not sure, we have to look at the data from Sepang. I’m pleased with the engine, but we need to continue working on the rest of the bike.”

Advertisements

MotoGP – Crutchlow wins with riding masterclass at Phillip Island

2016-16-gp-australia-42924

Cal Crutchlow took a stunning second MotoGP win at Phillip Island, as the LCR Honda pilot kept calm and kept his gap at the front ahead of Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi and Suzuki’s Maverick Viñales, who finished second and third respectively. The move fully justified Crutchlow’s gamble to use the hard front, and proved his win in the wet earlier this season was no fluke – this boy can ride and deserves to be at the front of the GP pack.

There were no miracle starts for those frontrunners starting further back for the Australian GP, with Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo getting the best from P12 to move up to P9, and teammate Valentino Rossi gaining two places to P13 – with Maverick Viñales moving up only one. It was Tech 3’s Pol Espargaro who got the holeshot from P3 on the front row, with polesitter Marquez the biggest loser off the line before the 2016 MotoGP world champion swept back around the outside of Doohan Corner to take back P2 and then fight off Espargaro through Lukey Heights and down into T10.

Once at the front, the Motegi and Aragon winner found his rhythm and began to build up his lead as the battle for second behind him intensified. The fight for P2 between Crutchlow and Suzuki’s Aleix Espargaro saw the Brit emerge on top, and this was the point which also saw Rossi begin to cut his way through the field – picking off Pol Espargaro and Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso with clean and clinical precision befitting a doctor.

Rossi then began setting his sights on Aleix Espargaro and soon getting past the Spaniard, and with Crutchlow starting to close the gap to Marquez there was suddenly a Repsol Honda cartwheeling through the gravel at Turn 4 – and Marquez was out of the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix.

Crutchlow then found himself in the lead, hoping the 2014 flashback for Marquez wouldn’t touch him after a last lap crash two years ago on the Ducati. The low temperatures were clearly a worry but the British rider dug deep and continued pulling away.

Behind him the battle for second continued to rage with Rossi getting a warning shot at Turn 4 that saw him run deep and lose ground, and the new fight for the final podium spot saw Aleix Espargaro locked in fierce battle with Dovizioso and Viñales.

After swapping positions in a three-way fight, Turn 4 then claimed another victim as Aleix Espargaro lost his Suzuki machine with just five laps to go, before teammate Viñales pounced to take third from an increasingly nervous looking Dovizioso, and this is where they remained as they crossed the finish line.

After his storming start, Pol Espargaro took a solid result as he crossed the line in fifth, ahead of a struggling Jorge Lorenzo, the former champion clearly out of sorts and unable to make up big ground after his good launch off the line.

Further back saw the Pramac duo of Scott Redding and Danilo Petrucci leading a seven rider fight for seventh with home hero Jack Miller on the Marc VDS Honda, Ducati’s Hector Barbera, Aprilia’s Stefan Bradl, Tech 3’s Bradley Smith and Nicky Hayden on the factory Honda.

‘Kentucky Kid’ Hayden, standing in for injured Dani Pedrosa at Repsol Honda, put in an impressive one-off return to his 2006 championship winning colours as he battled well within the points, before Miller took Turn 4 a little overenthusiastically and Hayden was the casualty, sliding out.

Hector Barbera was another crasher, leaving Redding to lead compatriot Bradley Smith over the line for seventh, with the top ten completed by Petrucci and Miller. As well as the solid result for Miller, fellow Australian Mike Jones scored a point on his Avintia Racing machine, impressing once again.

Crutchlow said: “I was terrified of losing heat in the front and I went really weak into that corner for the whole race. I knew it was critical towards the end of the race – I crashed there two years ago when I had 10 seconds behind me also, so I was quite scared to be honest and I didn’t want to make the same mistake but I knew I had to keep pushing or we’d lose the heat in the front tyre. I’m really pleased for my team, I was confident I could have won even with Marc in the race. I look forward to the last two races and then we’ll see what happens next season.”

MotoGP – Crutchlow on top at wet Phillip Island

37845078-f87b-4744-aa7f-1d6eeba48749

After a wet morning of action at Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, the red flag then came out during the second session for MotoGP – and it was decided to cancel the remainder of the session, as well as FP2 for Moto2.

With few bikes venturing on track during the early part of the session, it was Ducati’s Hector Barbera who went quickest and found himself unthreatened at the top of the timesheets in FP2. His Avintia Racing replacement, Mike Jones, was the next man in the table in his second MotoGP outing to impress once again, with Marc VDS rider Tito Rabat completing the top three. Danilo Petrucci on the Pramac Ducati was only a few hundredths off the Spaniard’s best in fourth, with the other two riders to venture out, Suzuki’s Aleix Espargaro and Yamaha’s rider Valentino Rossi, more than two and a half seconds further back.

Times set in a wet but faster FP1 were therefore the only ones representative on the combined timesheets, and LCR Honda rider Cal Crutchlow led the way from Danilo Petrucci and Marc VDS’ home hero Jack Miller.

Valentino Rossi had set some representative laptimes in the first session of the day, before the Italian was given a penalty by Race Direction. Having used one of the Michelin wet tyres for more laps than the allowed 10 in total, the rider from Tavullia saw his laptimes when set on that rubber deleted – leaving him down in P20 by the end of the day, just behind teammate Jorge Lorenzo, who didn’t put in much track time.

Behind Miller and moving up a place on the combined times after Rossi’s penalty was Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team), after the freshly-crowned World Champion put in a lap five hundredths off that of Miller. Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso completed the top five.

 #1Simon, A moment ago

MotoGP – Crutchlow continues to reign in the rain to take pole at Silverstone

a3dcbb23-4bf9-4695-b77b-29691ef95899
Britain’s Cal Crutchlow has taken an incredible home pole position at the Octo British Grand Prix, as the LCR Honda pilot kept his stunning wet weather form from the Czech GP to claim his third career pole. Crutchlow became the first British rider to win in the premier class in 35 years last time out at Brno, and his performance in the tricky conditions means he’s now the first British rider to claim pole position in a home GP since 1977.

The heavy rain meant qualifying became a frantic and fascinating affair, with Eugene Laverty and Jack Miller topping Q2 to make it through to Q1 – Laverty’s performance particularly catching the eye.

Q1 saw nearly every rider make a break from the pits from the off, eager to set a time before the weather worsened.

Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo looked nervous, his wet weather voodoo obviously causing his concern, but compatriot Marc Marquez on the finiky Honda oozed confidence.

The difference between the two was marked – at Copse Lorenzo would shut off the throttle as the bike squirmed, whereas Marquez would keep it pinned.

That bravery would catch the Repsol Honda man out through, and he lost the front at speed, tumbling through the gravel in front of the Valentino Rossi Fan Club stand, just like he did in last year’s race.

The final five minutes saw the rain come down harder, and Crutchlow dug deep to claim pole. It looked like Laverty was going to continue his sensational Q2 form and snatch it from him – he was under Crutchlow’s time for the first two time splits on his last lap – but he tucked the front and crashed out of contention.

Crutchlow said: “I didn’t honestly believe I was pushing. In the first sector I was not so fast and I had a little bit of a moment, then the rest of the lap I just tried to keep the lap together and thought. But on the next lap when I started to push I nearly crashed at Turn One.

“But then I looked at the laptimes and saw that everyone else at that time was quite a lot slower, so I thought that maybe I was taking some risks. I cruised around for the rest thinking that if somebody starts to come a little bit faster, then I’ll go, but I knew with the rain starting to come heavier it was a little bit more difficult.

“I saw Marc crash at Turn One on the big screen and I’d had a moment there as well, so I thought if I had to push again it would be quite dangerous. I took the risk at probably the right time.”

Rainmaster Valentino Rossi claimed second, Suzuki’s Maverick Viñales claimed third and Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa crossed the line on his final effort to pip teammate Marc Marquez to fourth. Laverty’s time was another to put him behind Marquez in sixth, while hard charger Scott Redding piloted his Ducati to an impressive seventh. Ducati factory rider Andrea Iannone had an uncharacteristically anonymous session in the wet to cross the line for eight, just ahead of reigning champion Jorge Lorenzo, who endured more misery in the wet. Ducati rider Andrea Dovizioso looked nervous throughout the wet sessions and fell during Q2, and finished qualifying in tenth – he was subsequently taken to the Medical Centre and declared fit.

#1

MotoGP – Crutchlow gambles and wins big in Brno

2016-11-gp-czech-rep-40746

CAL CRUTCHLOW GBR LCR HONDA HONDA MotoGP GP Czech Rep 2016 (Circuit Brno) 19-21/08.2016 photo: MICHELIN

Cal Crutchlow rode the race of his life in Brno to claim his maiden MotoGP win and end 35 years of hurt for Britain.

The LCR Honda rider gambled on a hard compound front and rear wet weather tyre for the race, and was one of only three riders to match front and rear hard rubber after torrential rain had soaked the 5.403km track.

The rain continued to fall during the Moto3 and Moto2 races but eased off as the MotoGP grid formed, and with the rain clouds clearing, the 22-lap race was declared wet.

Riders and teams frantically tried to come up with a strategy just minutes before the lights went out, and with previous race winner Iannone’s last-minute decision to run a soft front and rear, many riders were left fearing they may have made the wrong decision.

Crutchlow started from tenth on the grid and fell down to 15th by the end of lap-one as he struggled for grip while trying to get his tyres up to optimum working temperature.

The factory Ducati’s made a lightning start and were joined by Marc Marquez, Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi before the factory Yamahas began to tumble down the order.

Crutchlow bided his time, carefully warming his tyres up before making a determined charge through the field, finding grip where no one else could. It was a riding masterclass in skill, bravery and confidence, carving his way through the pack before taking the lead from last week’s winner Iannone on Lap 16.

Crutchlow continued to pull away, riding the wheels of his Honda RC213V to cross the line 7.2 seconds ahead of second-placed Rossi.

It was a deserved victory, made even more special as Crutchlow became the first British winner of a premier class motorcycle race since Barry Sheene in 1981.

Crutchlow said: “I’m very, very pleased to get this win today as it’s something very special for my career.

“We took the gamble and I knew that after three or four laps I would be competitive, but it was quite difficult to manage the tyres at the start of the race, because I needed to get the heat in them.

“I knew once I got going it was the right choice of tyres and I’m really happy with this result for me and my team.

“Winning doesn’t feel like I expected it to. I last won six years ago and the emotion then was different to how it is now. I feel that the biggest emotion I had was three weeks ago when Willow was born, so I don’t think it compares in that sense but that being said, it’s the best day of my racing career and the best emotion of my racing career. Hopefully it can happen again.”

The battle for the remaining podium places was an enthralling encounter which saw many riders change places throughout the race. Valentino Rossi eventually took second place with the final podium position going to championship leader Marc Marquez on the Repsol Honda.

The next race on the MotoGP calendar sees the paddock heads to Silverstone for the British Grand Prix on Sunday, September.

MotoGP –two more teams finalise their line-ups

550031

Britain’s Cal Crutchlow has signed to ride for LCR Honda for another year, quashing speculation that the team was end it’s long-standing relationship with Honda in favour of the ever-improving Suzukis.

Crutchlow made the announcement at the Assen GP press conference, explaining that he had signed to ride the Factory spec Honda for the 2017 season.

The former Ducati, and Tech 3 rider has enjoyed a difficult 2016 season, initially struggling to tame the aggressive nature of the RC213V, but he has enjoyed better results recently and has started to put in the performance he feels his talent is worthy of.

Crutchlow had been linked with a move to the Suzuki Factory team, but that option was  closed when the Japanese manufacturer announced it had signed hotshot Alex Rins to partner the fast but erratic Andrea Iannone.

The moves means most of the seats for the 2017 season are now locked out, with Aprilia being the only Factory  team to still confirm its line-up, although it has announced that neither Stefan Bradl nor Alvaro Bautista will be retained.

MotoGP – crashes deny Crutchlow valuable points finish

IMG_5847

Cal Crutchlow suffered a miserable race in Argentina and failing to finish for the second race in a row.

The Brit crashed out of eighth place on the last lap after having already made a miraculous recovery from an earlier tumble when he hit a damp patch on the Termas de Rio Hondo track.

The LCR Honda Team had seen their British rider make up several positions following a tricky bunch start to the race, which had been shortened to 20 laps due to a decision taken by Michelin that a mandatory pit-stop was to be made mid-race to ensure rider safety, but he lost the front at Turn One, ending up in the gravel.

He managed to pick the pick up and rejoin the race, going on to set a pace similar to the leaders in the second half of the race after the mandatory pitstop, and had worked his way up to eighth heading onto the last lap. However, as he touched a white line at turn three his bike slid out again, and this time that was his race done.

Crutchlow said: “Obviously I’m very disappointed for the team today. I tried my best, and after a bad start I made up some places. Then into turn one I got blinded by Lorenzo, hit a wet area and went to the floor. I remounted and got up to a good pace and made up some ground to the riders in front before the bike change.”

“After the mandatory pit-stop I pushed all the way to the finish despite some problems with the front tyre. I felt I rode well and managed to get back with the kind of pace that could have potentially been a podium today. However, I hit a white line on the last lap after passing Bradley Smith for eighth, and went down again.”

“It is disappointing of course, but we can take some positives from the race in that we are able to be competitive and we just need to learn to manage the situation.”

MotoGP –Crutchlow crashes out in Qatar

IMG_5578

It was a disappointing night for Cal Crutchlow as the LCR Honda pilot crashed out on lap seven of the season opener at Qatar.

Crutchlow had struggled with his Honda all weekend, which now features a reverse crank in an effort to help it turn, and was unable to find a decent base setting which allowed him to ride through the bike’s electronics problems.

Speaking after the race he said: “I’m extremely disappointed, but that’s an understatement to be honest. We had some electronic problems during the weekend and again in the race. The bike didn’t have a clue where we were on the circuit. It seemed to be reading the wrong sectors, so in the last sector it thought I was in the first sector and so on. This was why I crashed”.

“I’m disappointed for my team because we all worked hard all weekend and I felt we could have got in among the front five that got away, but I just couldn’t accelerate onto the straight. I don’t know why it was, but we will investigate later and hope to be back fast in Argentina.”

MotoGP – how to solve a problem like Jack Miller

IMG_2502 IMG_2503 IMG_2504 IMG_2505

Jackass Jack Miller lived up to his nickname in spectacular fashion at the British Grand Prix after crashing out and wiping out teammate Cal Crutchlow.

Miller made a superb start in the treacherous wet conditions at Silverstone and having departed the grid in 16th position, the LCR Honda rider stormed through the field and had fought his way up to fourth spot on lap three.

After swapping places several times with home rider and fellow LCR Honda rider Cal Crutchlow, Miller made a late lunge from too far back with no chance of making the apex, losing the front on the brakes and torpedoing Crutchlow into the gravel. Both riders slid out, and although they remounted, were unable to finish the race.

A clearly disappointed and frustrated Crutchlow said: “Obviously I’m really disappointed, we could have done a great race today, I thought I had the pace to be with the winner. I felt really comfortable this morning in the rain and I felt really comfortable in the race, but these things happen. Jack is young, he was near to the front in a MotoGP race and made an ambitious move. He made a mistake, he apologised and I have accepted his apology. I’ve done it before and I’m sure I will do it again – this is racing, but obviously I was very disappointed.

“I came in and we changed the bike, but as soon as I went out of the pitlane I crashed immediately because it was a dry setting on that bike and there is a big, big difference. I was not really going to carry on too much as I was too far behind the leader at that point, but it was a good job by the LCR Honda team this weekend and I really appreciate all the fan support as they really helped us.”

Rookie Miller’s misdemeanour is the latest in a long series of mistakes that have plagued his debut season, leading many to question his ability and attitude after making the jump from Moto3 to MotoGP. Nicky Hayden, Hector Barbera and Eugene Laverty have all publicly aired their concerns about Miller’s reckless style. There’s a growing feeling among the paddock that the Australian is riding beyond his ability in an effort to impress his Honda paymasters – Miller has a contract with Honda and not LCR – and that race direction needs to take action in a bid to tame his aggression, much like they did with Marco Simoncelli.

MotoGP – Crutchlow dislocates ankle at Mugello

FullSizeRender copy

Cal Crutchlow endured a hugely disappointing race at Mugello after crashing out three laps from the end when placed fifth.

The CWM LCR Honda rider defied a hand injury picked up from a fast fall in this morning’s warm-up to produce a brave ride and looked poised for a good points finish.

But having battled front end problems all race, the Briton finally succumbed three laps from the chequered flag and went over at the fast turn eight, sustaining a dislocated ankle for his troubles.

Crutchlow said: “It’s very disappointing. We had what I thought was a good weekend up until the race. This morning I had a very heavy crash in the warm-up and had a big impact on my hand, so I thought it was a good showing to be racing in the position that I was.

“We had the 38 front tyre which meant steering the bike was not easy, but overall we were not so far off the factory guys and with the right setting I think we could have been higher.

“Unfortunately the front tyre failed me in the end and just tucked under at a very fast corner. My foot got caught in the back of the bike and dislocated my ankle so I’m in a lot of pain and we’ll have to monitor the situation but I’ve had good treatment.

“Obviously I’m really disappointed because it was a good race and a good showing and Honda are working very hard for us to improve so we need to come back stronger in Barcelona hopefully.”