Crutchlow was the rider chosen to replace the retired Andrea Dovizioso at the RNF team for the remainder of the 2022 MotoGP season.
In his first race since the 2021 Aragon GP , when he replaced Maverick Viñales on Yamaha, Crutchlow managed to score two points in 14th last Sunday at Motorland Aragon and finished just 20 seconds behind race winner Enea Bastianini.
But Crutchlow admits, after the drama of the first lap in which Fabio Quartararo and Takaaki Nakagami were sidelined in two separate incidents with Marc Marquez, that he “lost the whole point of the race” at the start.
“Honestly halfway through the first lap I was thinking ‘why did I come back to this?'” said the Briton.
“There were people flying everywhere, I had to slam on the brakes to avoid hitting anyone. So I thought ‘okay, what happens now?’ because I had just seen Fabio’s wrecked bike, and I thought that they would surely raise a red flag”.
“Then we got to the end of the lap and it was like ‘OK, we’ll keep going.’ Then Taka fell and started skidding on the ground and I was trying to stop.”
“I asked myself ‘what happens now?’ I had lost the whole aspect of the race, but I saw that everyone was following and that I had to continue.”
“I wasn’t really ready to do it, but it was a positive race. I tried my best, that’s all the team and Yamaha can ask of me. We came back to collect good information and some data.”
Crutchlow believes he could have finished better at the Aragon GP had he not been dropped from the front pack after being forced to dodge Nakagami on lap one, and says he was caught up in the battle between VR46 duo Luca Marini and Marco Bezzecchi.
“I think I had a good race,” added Cal Crutchlow. “When I was 19 laps in I was able to do a 1:48. My best lap of last year’s race was a 1:49 after five laps. So I had a consistent race.”
“I tried to fight a bit, but it wasn’t possible. But in the end I was happy with how it came out. It’s funny how you get back to the racing mentality. I could easily go behind, do my job, and say ‘I’ve done my job. , here you have data of the tests”.
“And they would be happy. But when I see the people in front of me, I say to myself: ‘Okay, you have to go after them, I have to try to pass the people.’
“Being competitive, it is what it is. It was good to get a couple of points.”
“I think it could have been a little bit better if I could have struggled a little bit in the first few laps, but we were lost, we had lost the front group. Then Bezzecchi and Marini went off the track and slowed us down.”
“I think I could have done a much faster time, but honestly they were running each other off the track.”
“The good thing is that I didn’t go over my limit. Rins passed me and I could have tried to pass him, but I thought I was over my limit.”
His new teammate, Darryn Binder, could only manage 18th, four places behind and no points.