Monster Yamaha Tech3 rider Cal Crutchlow picked up from where he left off after breaking his collarbone at Silverstone, with a 6th place finish in free practice for this weekends Assen Grand Prix. Crutchlow suffered a fall in qualifying for the British Grand Prix, but just like his team mate Colin Edwards, it is like he hasn’t been away.
The rain helped Crutchlow to steadily gain his confidence on the M1 Yamaha, and after the session said, “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.”
He continued, “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.”
Colin Edwards was pleased with his 8th place finish, in conditions not dissimilar to the rain he faced on his way to 3rd at the British Grand Prix. As the American is still recovering from his broken collarbone, he was pleased that he was able to move around more on the bike as his damaged rib-cage is now healing.
“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 comfortable 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.”
He continued, “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.”
Both riders will take part in an extended free practice session in the morning, due to free practice 2 being called off because of oil on a significant part of the track.