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May 22nd, 2018, 03:00 AM   #1
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CRUTCHLOW: Disregard for Safety

What should be the penalty for riders who ‘willfully’ disregard safety resulting in the endangerment of track volunteer personnel?

What should be the consequence for a rider who knowingly jeopardizes track marshals, medical personnel, and fellow competitors? How about a race ban, suspension, sat down to be scolded like a child, isn’t that what most former racers and a chorus of “journalists” were calling for after Argentine debacle where a rider was accused of arrogantly and disrespectfully disregarding the “safety” of a fellow competitor? What if the current boo worthy villain Marc Evil Marquez had done it? Would the “new” “safety conscience” Race Direction issue a severe penalty? What if Rossi had done it? Would detractors be pointing out how Race Direction turns a blind eye to his transgressions? The outcry and grandstanding by those who took to social media to condemn the Argentine “perpetrator” was heard round the world. Marquez was called a “goon”(Bayliss) and possibly blind (Spies), childish and petulant by several former racers (Schwantz) Race Direction (Mike Webb) found the events of Argentina to be reckless and punishable, and the media (David Emmet, Dennis Noyes, Matt Oxley et al) in particular mounted a relentless prosecutorial posture toward the accused! Wasn’t this the catalyst for a “new” paradigm shift towards “safety” (Dorna who supposedly have nothing to do with Race Direction or the FIM)? Rider’s decisions are now to be doubly scrutinized, and if found to be in contempt of “safety” a penalty is to be issued, right? No exceptions, safety is paramount, and it will be enforced, or will it?

Willful Disregard for Safety

Cal Crutchlow, serial crasher, willfully disregarded safety of track volunteers, fellow competitors, and himself as a consequence of consciously disregarding safety equipment available to him, causing a crash and putting all involved in a hazardous situation of significant peril and risk to life and limb!

No Hot Air, Just the Facts

Cal Crutchlow crashed in the Free Practice before qualifying, this seemingly routine occurrence set off a noteworthy near and avoidable catastrophe that has gone largely unnoticed. Despite the ample time between the last Free Practice and Qualifying 1, Cal Crutchlow deliberately disregarded safety by failing to change leathers equipped with the safety airbag feature. Alpinestars, a leader in rider safety, has equipped leathers with a state of the art airbag feature that is designed to prevent injury to the riders, which directly facilitates incident retrieval and recovery during a crash. That is, the safety equipment is not only designed to prevent injury to the rider, but directly reduces the risk and hazards to track marshals in the recovery of crashed riders and machine! Important fact, the airbags in the leathers deploy only ‘once’ per incident, at which time the rider is required to change leathers affixed with a fresh reset airbag system. For reference, it is the same for a “crash helmet” that has been compromised, a rider is required to change a helmet that has been damaged, otherwise it does not work properly. It would be severely negligent for a rider to go back out on track with a compromised helmet, as it could lead to serious injury if not death in the event of a crash. One can imagine if a rider did so and crashed, if rendered incapacitated due to compromised equipment, the track marshals would have more exposure. The leather’s airbag system is deigned to limit and reduce the exposure of risk not only to the rider, but note, to the recovery personnel as well.

Disturbing Lack of Awareness and Responsibility

The consequence of disregarding such safety equipment directly increases the peril of an already hazardous job assigned to corner volunteers, medical personnel, marshals, and fellow competitors circulating on the track. All of which were put in avoidable serious danger because of the negligence of Cal Crutchlow to willfully disregard safety equipment! Crutchlow is a veteran of MotoGP’s premier category, there is absolutely no excuse for him not to think through the predictable consequence of his lack of professional responsibility. It is one thing to disregard your own safety, if only no one else were concerned; however, Crutchlow’s decisions had, as a point in fact, a real impact on altruistic unsuspecting corner workers who depend on riders to make responsible decisions. For reference, in 2013, when Marc Marquez crashed during the BritishGP practice in Silverstone, he was justly penalized for disregarding safety protocols, yellow flags, which put marshals in danger who were ironically, but not unsurprisingly, attending to Cal Crutchlow who had ‘crashed’. Marquez was not only penalized, the message being track safety must be paramount, moreover he was roundly criticized for either failing to see or ignoring the yellow flags waved by the marshals. Marquez was criticized because he said he did “not see the flags waving”, his bike nearly careening into the corner workers; if Marc was telling the truth one could conclude it was unintentional. We should contrast this to Crutchlow’s admission of knowingly making the decision to disregard safety equipment, hastily going out in Qualifying 1 and crashing ‘again’, injuring himself and putting others in danger!

Consequence of Arrogance

Crutchlow may have thought he is a ‘tough guy’ for going on the track without proper safety equipment available to him. This is unsurprising given his conceited character and the foolish endorsement of arrogance that is often granted to him by fans, media, and paddock. Race Direction has yet to admonish him, if ever. There is a pattern here with Cal, unfortunately it’s not limited to just bigheaded, smug, scornful and churlish ‘words’, such when he attacked Pedrosa in the media, after actually physically attacking him on the track; or his own employers, blaming everyone from the manufactures to the vendors and components providers for his own short comings. No, it goes beyond ‘words’. His arrogance blinds him, which has real physical consequences, blaming equipment for crashes only feeds the sense that it is not his fault; and in this case, disregarding equipment during crashes. It wasn’t just the track personnel that were put in danger, Crutchlows RCV Honda was stricken on a hot track during thee most intense moment of the event where riders were in full time attacks. This is the worst possible time for a GP bike to be marooned on the tarmac, in an impact zone. The downed machine posed a real jeopardy to the others, where if Crutchlow had been responsibly wearing equipment designed to expedite a crash, he could have walked or ran away from his bike, freeing the marshals to clear the hazardous metal and carbon fiber machine. Instead, as a result of Crutchlow’s shortsighted negligent decision to disregard a functional set of airbag leathers, he was injured from the impact, compelling the marshals and medical personnel to attend to him putting themselves in serious peril. Crutchlow’s own motorcycle collided with him striking his head. Which puts the analogy above regarding the use of a suitable helmet as functional ‘safety equipment’ all the more applicable!

The Media’s Complicity

David Emmett of Motomatters features Matt Oxley’s Motor Sport Magazine’s articles, one of which was titled “MotoGP’s Brave Heart” in which Oxley spins the extraordinary crash rate of Cal Crutchlow into some admirable attribute, and proceeds to construct a picture of the British rider as if he’s some everyman’s folk hero, “Crutchlow, the scruffy, amiable family man who would happily wrestle a grizzly bear if you gave him half the chance.” It should be pointed out, Oxley describes fellow serial crasher Andrea Iannone in contrasting unattractive terms, “Iannone, the tattooed, coiffured bad boy so in love with himself…” The transparency of Oxley’s bias couldn’t be more blatant. Undoubtedly, Cal Crutchlow is enabled by the endorsement exemplified her by Oxley: “he’s [Cal] one of the good guys; usually joking, often a bit rude and always straight down the line. He says what he thinks and damn the consequences.” Ah yes, damn the consequences! Except this has put many in danger, and it is exactly this attitude toward his approach to riding that often ends in the gravel, worse still, wantonly putting others in danger.

I have watched many GP press conferences, and I have yet to see a reporter take Cal Crutchlow to task for his extraordinary rate of crashing. In the piece that I reference above, Mat Oxley points out with glee that Cal has “98 races and 92 crashes but it’s all been worth it”. As if crashing is some commendable work ethic gritty quality, a right of passage that lesser riders are unwilling to endure. It should be noted that Cal Crutchlow by year’s end had the distinction of having the highest tally of crashing for MotoGP! The following year Crutchlows crash tally was just as prolific, for perspective, he had more crashes than Lorenzo, Dovi, Rossi, and Vinalez combined. It is insane in the extreme to spin this aspect of Crutchlow’s riding as some positive considering that one crash in 2016 resulted in the death of Luis Salom. Crashing is not something to be spun into some lofty attribute as Oxley has done.

Cal Crutchlow was at fault for not wearing the safety equipment that he had available which is designed toprevented putting the track marshals, medical personnel and fellow competitors in a dangerous predicament.

Will any of his fans, media, Safety Commission, fellow riders, Race Direction, anybody ever hold him accountable?

Insult to Injury

In typical Crutchlow shamelessness, he scorned Race Direction for not deploying the red flag quick enough for a dangerous situation that HE solely created! In his standard disingenuous way that only Cal Crutchlow can muster, he accused Race Direction of dereliction for the safety of the marshals, who were precisely in danger because of his careless disregard for safety equipment!

If we penalize for unsafe riding, what should be the penalty for putting track volunteers in undue avoidable risk because of a reckless disregard for safety? Will the Safety Commission ever confront Crutchlow for his extraordinary rate of crashing coupled with his disturbing inability to recognize his culpability? Will there ever be a principled and courageous journalist that will press Crutchlow and continue to highlight the peculiar hazardous element of his ride craft? Perhaps even one who cares for his well-being and longevity. Or will Crutchlow’s risk prone behavior go unabated until a self-correcting career-ending catastrophe happens, or worse, the calamity of some innocent bystander?
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May 22nd, 2018, 03:20 AM   #2
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It's a common thing in modern day MotoGP, the riders have no respect and take stupid risks, I said this on a thread a few weeks ago that last season in MotoGP there were in excess of 300 crashes compared to the 98 in 2006. Marc Marquez crashed 27 times last season and he won the championship that's a ridiculous count of crashes and I don't care how good these new airbag leathers and track safety are, if they carry on with reckless abandon one of these days they are going to suffer a crash they won't walk away from. Just last week Shane Byrne a vastly experienced racer known for a smooth and safe riding style suffered a crash which could have paralysed him and still could end his career as he's still undergoing treatment in hospital, so these lunatics who are in GP aren't playing with fire they're tightrope walking over a volcano.
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May 22nd, 2018, 03:52 AM   #3
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Just like HRC have told him he can't have a carbon swingarm because they've only made 3 and he would just break it, i wouldn't be surprised if Alpinestars have told him he's not getting any more airbags because they can't make them quick enough to keep up with his crash rate, giving Crutchlow airbags is dangerous if you ask me,it only creates a false sense of security and encourages him.
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May 22nd, 2018, 05:07 AM   #4
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Haven’t read all of jums post, will go back and do so.

In specifics to the leathers though, from a few years ago when the first started appearing before becoming mandatory and we’re the fancy new thing I remember a segment on them that said they were good for 2-3 uses and not a one use item?

That’s what the little led lights on the arm related to, After too many uses it would change from green to red?
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May 22nd, 2018, 05:36 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Baffy View Post
Havenít read all of jums post, will go back and do so.
We'll wait here. Get some snacks and drinks. Something to keep you going.
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May 22nd, 2018, 05:53 AM   #6
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Jum, while Crutchlow made the wrong decision to not change leathers RD not reflagging the session until it was over was far worse. That's what really out everyone including Crutchlow at risk. I know you have disdain for Crutchlow but point the finger at the real problem which is RD and Mike Webb.
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May 22nd, 2018, 05:58 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Baffy View Post
Havenít read all of jums post, will go back and do so.

In specifics to the leathers though, from a few years ago when the first started appearing before becoming mandatory and weíre the fancy new thing I remember a segment on them that said they were good for 2-3 uses and not a one use item?

Thatís what the little led lights on the arm related to, After too many uses it would change from green to red?
The Dainese airbag will deploy twice before needing replacement. Not sure about A*.
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May 22nd, 2018, 05:59 AM   #8
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I think a lot of riders would've made the same decision as Cal. We see guys out with scuffed leather from crashing all the time.
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May 22nd, 2018, 06:12 AM   #9
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The consensus here seems to be that we have seen worse. But that is not a good reason to allow it. When is it time to say enough is enough with riders coming back from injury or concussion to soon? After something bad happens or before it gets out of hand? Riders will always choose race, it up to safety commissions and doctors to help protect them form themselves.
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May 22nd, 2018, 12:46 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Jumkie View Post
What should be the penalty for riders who ‘willfully’ disregard safety resulting in the endangerment of track volunteer personnel?


Lorenzo didnt use one in 2016 as well but it wasn't mandatory then.

In 2018 it says it is mandatory, so Cal does seem to have violated a rule. But endangering the track personnel is too much of a stretch.

Does that mean if a rider crashes and his airbag has been deployed his race is over?

Lorenzo has declined to use the airbag system because he believes that the negatives outweigh the positives—the primary issue being the weight of a 500-gram airbag assembly/discharging system and his complaints of discomfort while wearing it apparently outweigh the safety benefits in his view. It’s a perfectly respectable decision—during this season at least—especially considering that we are talking about his own personal safety. There is no one better than Lorenzo himself who knows what's best for him...although the fact that he did not reveal the whole truth about the situation when asked at the Motegi press conference perhaps suggests that he is not so sure.

Between the Japanese and Australian Grands Prix, the GP Commission announced that, “Effective 2018: In an effort to improve rider safety, leathers used by riders must be equipped with an approved inflatable airbag device.”
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