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You may like him or dislike him, enjoy his constant jokes or be bored with them, be a fan or not, but in what there is no discussion is that Cal Crutchlow is the bravest rider in MotoGP.

Although it may seem otherwise, MotoGP riders are “normal” people, made of flesh and blood. They have muscles and bones that hurt the same way that yours and mine do when they hit the ground in those spectacular crashes we are witness to. Many times those crashes occurred at speeds that large aircraft use to takeoff …but the riders instead return to the ground.

Let’s do an imaginative exercise: sitting in a chair, close your eyes and imagine that we are thrown out of the chair onto the ground 26 times. Imagine each time: one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine…get thrown off, get up, sit back down and get thrown off again; and do this twenty-six times. Just thinking about it is tiresome, isn’t it?

Since his arrival to MotoGP in 2011, Cal’s chronological number of crashes per season were: 12, 14, 14, 10, 12…and 26 in 2016.

Exactly 26 has been the number of times that Cal Crutchlow went down to the ground over the course of the 2016 season, in 18 races. The LCR Team’s British rider has been “awarded” this season’s crash title: he is the rider with the most falls in 2016. Compared to 2015, Crutchlow more than doubled the incidents in which was thrown from his bike. Since his arrival to MotoGP in 2011, Cal’s chronological number of crashes per season were: 12, 14, 14, 10, 12…and 26.

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And what is the cause of these high numbers? In my opinion there are several things going on. The first is that the bike he was on has not been an easy machine. It cannot be coincidence that in the 2016 crash hall of fame three Honda riders appear: Crutchlow, Jack Miller and Marc Márquez. While the Brit was racking up those 26 crashes, Miller went down 25 times and Marquez, let’s not forget he is the one who took the title, crashed 17 times. In 2016, Marc fell 17 times, four more than in 2015, which already was a year full of incidents for the Spanish rider.

It’s clear that the RCV 2016 wasn’t a bike that its riders found easy. Those numbers from Crutchlow, Miller and Marquez certify this, as do the complicated seasons for Pedrosa and Rabat. In the case of Cal, those same numbers demonstrate that far from being intimidated, he has persevered and overcome to keep moving forward. After the tenth fall, or the 15th, or the 20th, he could have said “That’s enough!”, but Crutchlow has shown that he is not one to throw in the towel.

Cal Crutchlow is stubborn and, above all, a very brave man with a big set of balls.

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Is he crazy? Oblivious? Not at all. He is stubborn and, above all, a very brave man with a big set of balls. If there is unanimity in pointing to Pedrosa as the rider with most technique in MotoGP, Marquez the most determined, Lorenzo as the most meticulous and Rossi as the smartest, Crutchlow is undoubtedly the most courageous. His insistence, to put it academically, led him to two race victories and to make Honda see him as their third man alongside Marquez and Pedrosa.

Let’s do a final exercise that can help us understand what the 2016 season has meant for each rider and what degree of stress each has suffered: Let’s compare the number of crashes for the nine riders who won a race during the 2016 season. Here they are in alphabetical order: Crutchlow 26, Dovizioso 6, Iannone 13, Lorenzo 11 (only 3 in 2015 ), Márquez 17, Miller 25, Pedrosa 10 (only three in 2015), Rossi 4, Viñales 5.

Sometimes the cold hard numbers can reveal reality in an instant.