the riders have the same instinct...
“Given how different we all are and how
different our styles, it’s weird how we all
end up doing fairly similar things when it
comes to where we brake and how late we
brake. Sure, the guy alongside you might
instinctively brake a meter later, which can
be a small advantage, but that’s the way it
works. It never stops being enjoyable and
challenging trying to make that meter up.
“We’re controlled by our manufacturer
“Riding and racing a MotoGP bike is
physically draining. The whole experience,
every single lap, is a big stress on your
body. To hit your marks on the track every
single time is draining. Into a braking
zone, if you make one small mistake, or
you brake one meter too late, the front
end will go out as fast as anything.
“I don’t think any of the guys racing in
MotoGP use braking markers anymore.
We do it out of instinct because if you’re
using a slipstream, or you’re trying to pass
someone, the trackside braking markers
are irrelevant. We do what we do out of
instinct, and it’s pretty amazing how all
(LEFT) Cal Crutchlow
celebrates the second
of two 2016 MotoGP
wins. His first came in
a wet Czech GP, but
his second was a dry-weather masterclass
at fast, flowing Phillip
Island in Australia.
“If you make one small mistake, or
you brake one meter too late, the
front end will go out fast as anything”
on RPM, so we change gears when the light
comes on or by listening. I change gears a
lot by listening to the revs. I don’t really go
to the light a lot of the time. It’s very similar
for all riders. If I‘m shifting a gear in one
place, Marc [Marquez] or Dani [Pedrosa],
who ride for Honda as well, are going to be
shifting within 20ft of me. On the straights,
we’re usually all in the same gears, but
sometimes, through differences between
the various manufacturers, we’re in
different gears in the corners, depending on
what the bike likes or what the rider likes.
“A lot more of what we do on the bike
is within our control than, say, driving a
Formula 1 car. Having said that, I’m a
massive car fan and a massive Formula 1
fan, and what the driver does to make the
car capable of what it’s doing is incredible.
“Sure, the drivers aren’t on two wheels,
constantly shifting their position, but
what they have to do in the cockpit is still
very, very mentally tiring. OK, I think the
actual driving part of it is easier than
what we do, but changing the buttons
and doing so many things is quite difficult.
But, bottom line, if they make a mistake,
they have a lot less risk than if we make
a mistake, that’s for sure...”
Constantly shifting weight on the bike
by moving in the seat is essential to
riding any racing motorcycle, but
especially so on a MotoGP machine.
82 OCTOBER 2017
MOTOGP: CAL CRUTCHLOW