Author: Bike Social Sports Reporter Posted: 15 Apr 2014
It was a bittersweet day for the Ducati MotoGP team in Austin this weekend as Andrea Dovizioso took the Italian marque’s first dry podium since 2012 while Brit Cal Crutchlow fell from his Desmosedici suffering damage to his hand.
Ducati made a strong start to the 2014 season with strong results for both riders in Qatar however Austin was a different ball game and not just for Ducati. The race in Austin was one of the most incident-packed dry races in years, with several riders crashing out while others faded significantly with tyre issues from as early as seven laps into the race.
Cal Crutchlow was one of those riders to suffer from tyre issues and despite a strong start in Sunday’s race the Brit pulled into the pit to change his rear tyre before half distance. Despite improvement from the new tyre Crutchlow crashed out in a nasty highside at the second corner just two laps later, falling badly on his right hand and dislocating his little finger. Crutchlow will receive medical attention this week before flying to Argentina where he intends to race in the third round of the championship in just under two weeks time.
“I was very optimistic, but unfortunately I had a problem with the rear tyre of the bike immediately from lap 1” said Crutchlow. “There were some very big vibrations and it was becoming worse so I thought it was better to pit and change the tyre. Because we were not even at half-distance, the team made the decision to put the soft rear tyre in and I took benefit from that but I was never going to get any points.
“I remember hitting a bump on the track that upset the bike. It was a fast corner and seemed like it was just going to be a normal crash, but I got caught up with the bike and it ended up highsiding me. I really hit my hand so hard that I dislocated the finger and the swelling of the hand was so bad that I couldn’t see the problem. I’m sorry for the team, but very pleased for Andrea to be on the podium after all the hard work the guys in Ducati Corse have put in over the winter.”
It was a different story for Dovizioso, who after a steady start had managed to conserve his tyres a little better than the riders ahead. He slowly found himself climbing the order and in better condition than Bradley Smith and Stefan Bradl fighting for the podium. Once he was past he didn’t look back to take Ducati’s first dry podium in well over a year.
“I am very pleased with the way I managed the race because in the early laps I didn’t have the right pace” the Italian commented. “But I kept calm and kept up a constant pace, and this paid off because I didn’t stress the tyres too much. My performance dropped off a bit towards the end but obviously less than the other riders I was fighting with and this allowed me to do the final stages in a good condition.
“Then I pulled out a small gap over Bradl and Smith, which allowed me to take the chequered flag with an advantage of almost two seconds. I am very pleased with this result for my team. We’ve been working hard for a year and suffering a lot, and we are still not as quick as we would like to be. Getting a result like this at this time of the season is very important, also for all the engineers and mechanics in the racing division back in Bologna, who are working very hard to improve the Desmosedici’s competitiveness.”