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, Cal 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 Cal 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.
Cal was confident he could improve 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.
“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 the 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."