Awe for Crutchlow continues ahead of Sepang

MotoGP riders were still praising Cal Crutchlow in the build up to Malaysia this weekend following the Honda rider’s win at Phillip Island.

Maverick Vinales said he wished he had pace like Crutchlow’s in Australia, adding that the Briton was quick at Sepang as well.

“Last year I battled in the [Phillip Island] race with Cal, but this year there was no chance of that happening. I’m so happy for him though,” Vinales said.

“He’s fast in Malaysia, too. I just watched back some old races this week and saw that and I just hope that I can be as fast as him there,” Vinales said.

Valentino Rossi also said he had no answer for Crutchlow’s speed in Australia.

What a day for my team and I …! Something really special !

A photo posted by Cal Crutchlow (@calcrutchlow) on Oct 23, 2016 at 8:20am PDT

“There was one lap where Cal gained one second, but I was able to push more when he was, and in the next lap I gained some back again on him,” Rossi said. “But he was doing incredible laps, and I knew even before we came here that he would be strong.”

“Cal has a special riding style and a special riding style that really suits him. Congratulations to him, because he deserved it,” he said.

Meanwhile, Andrea Iannone is set for a return after missing Aragon, Motegi and Phillip Island with an injury sustained at Misano practice. He has been out for six weeks.

Ducati boss Paolo Ciabatti on Sunday said that scans showed a broken vertebrae had healed enough to allow a return.

“He is coming to Sepang,” Ciabatti said. “It looks like the results of the last scan he did on Monday show that the fracture is not completely healed, because that will take two months or more, but is in a good stage not to cause any worry.”

With Iannone’s return, rookie Mike Jones faces uncertainty over when he can seek to improve on his point at Phillip Island as a replacement rider.

Jones raced in Hector Barbera’s place for Avintia, while Barbera rode Iannone’s Ducati.

The Australian finished 15th at Phillip Island, but his future is now a little uncertain just as he was finding his feet.

“It’s not easy to get comfortable on one of these bikes in a short amount of time,” Jones said. “These motorbikes are the most powerful and fastest road racing motorbikes there are, so it’s not easy to get your head around.”