Crutchlow: “They were panicking because I wanted to race!”

The British rider goes heroically from hospital bed to eighth at the flag at Le Mans

Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) finished his HJC Helmets Grand Prix de France weekend with an eighth-place finish, back in the points after two consecutive blanks. In normal circumstances this would already be a positive return to form, but after what happened in the hours before the race, it could be considered near-miraculous.

While most riders prepare for their Sunday race from the comfort of a hotel room or motorhome, Crutchlow had no such luck: his huge Q1 crash on Saturday left his participation in the Le Mans race in serious doubt. The Brit had finished the session 13th, but that was the least of his concerns: “I had some internal injury to my lung and we thought the pelvis area maybe broken because of the impact obviously. That was the concern, because I had a lot of pain in the bottom of my stomach”.

Thankfully for the three-time Grand Prix winner, the injuries were limited to a contusion and some internal bleeding, not enough to keep the racer in bed. He stayed under observation overnight, but was right back on track by Sunday morning. “They were panicking because I obviously wanted to go and race”, he admits. “I Ieft the hospital about 8:30 this morning and was able to get here in time for Warm Up. It wasn’t the best night’s sleep I’ve ever had that’s for sure”.

The Independent Team rider played the long game at Le Mans, calmly climbing positions without making mistakes, and passing Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) on the last lap. “I wasn’t willing to push in the first laps, it was as simple as that. I didn’t want to make any mistakes and stay on the bike, because I could have caused myself a serious injury. Then after that I was able to push a bit and pick some riders off”.

Crutchlow now sits eighth in the Championship and just 12 points off of second heading to Mugello.