Cal Crutchlow appears to have a subscription to physical problems this year. He broke his scaphoid in Jerez, with subsequent surgery, then he had to deal with compartment syndrome (and more surgery), which stopped him from participating in the two races at Misano. It seemed as if he had solved all his the problems, but he slipped (on his own two feet) yesterday in the Barcelona paddock and injured the ligaments of his left ankle.
“When I called Dr. Mir to tell him, he thought I was kidding,” the British rider from the LCR team said. He passed his medical tests this morning and got the okay to get on his Honda tomorrow.
“I think I can do it,” he said reassuringly. “My arm hadn’t healed for Misano. It was getting bigger and bigger, and I wasn’t able to ride. Even the doctors had told me. I had no choice. The only one who wanted me to race was Lucio Cecchinello, but the arm is mine. I decided not to.”
The rest paid off.
“I went home and underwent hyperbaric chamber therapy,” he continued. “But the wound was open, there were two holes, the skin had peeled off. So I had plastic surgery, and it went great. My arm is now fantastic. I went to Dr. Mir yesterday to extract the liquid that was left, and he also told me it’s incredible. The most important thing is that there was no infection. I just have to see what happens on the bike.”
But there’s also his ankle he has to keep an eye on now.
“I had to have a swab before I could enter the paddock,” Cal explained. “Once I left the office after the test, I pushed the door, but it didn’t resist. I didn’t expect it, and there was a really high step after it. I slipped and realized that I had damaged my ligament. The side of my ankle had swelled the size of a golf ball, so we drained the blood.”
The night went well.
“I had already injured my other ankle, so I know all the tricks,” Crutchlow said jokingly. “I iced it. Now it’s still black and swollen, but much less than yesterday. I think I can ride. Will I have trouble shifting? I’ll tell you tomorrow.”
The Honda rider tries to see everything with optimism.
“I had the same injury in 2012 at Silverstone and managed to race.” He had started from the back of the grid and climbed up to 6th place. ” I just have to figure out who’ll be able to lend me a boot one size bigger! Also, after injuries, I usually get on the podium, like last year in Germany.” He smiled. “Actually, I don’t remember how long I haven’t raced in top shape.”
But Cal doesn’t want to hear about anyone who sees these injuries as messages from his body.
“ I don’t believe in that crap,” he said curtly. “ I believe in hard work and dedication. I want to get back in shape and be fast and see if I can find a bike for next year.”
The only option is Aprilia.
“Yes,” he confirmed. “I think it’s a suitable job for me, very different from what I’m doing now. It would be a kind of new beginning. I spoke to Rivola, and he told me they want to wait to find out how the Iannone affair will be resolved. I respect their decision. On my part, I know I could do a good job with them. The bike has good potential, and I think I could help make it faster.”
But now there’s Honda to think about. Not only did Cal have to give up, but Bradl did too, also because of an arm problem.
“I wasn’t surprised,” Cal said. “The Honda doesn’t forgive. Even Nakagami had problems with compartment syndrome. It’s a bike that moves and rears up a lot. It’s hard to ride if you’re not in top shape. I also have say that Alex Marquez did a great race at Misano. He’s learning quickly, and I had already noticed it in Austria. Like he did in Jerez and Misano, from the first to the second race, he made a lot of progress there."
Crutchlow has often criticized the 2020 RC213V, but Nakagami, after testing it in the Misano tests, said it’s better than last year’s.
“I wasn’t there. I don’t know what bike he tried. Maybe it was the 2021,” he said ironically. “The only difference between the 2019 and 2020 bikes is the engine, and I don’t know which one I used. If he felt good, I’m happy for him.”