This is due to Yamaha suspending Vinales and withdrawing him from the Austrian Grand Prix this weekend for deliberately trying to blow up his engine at the Styrian GP last week.
In a press release, Yamaha said Vinales had endangered himself and the environment with his actions in which he was caught in front of the camera – and later via telemetry – trying to over-rev his engine.
Vinales has since publicly apologized to Yamaha on Saturday for his actions in his first media outings since Thursday’s announcement, insisting that he never intended to endanger anyone.
The Spaniard says that frustration at the situation he found himself in during the Styrian GP and at Yamaha in general over the past few weeks – after he had already announced that he would be leaving the team at the end of 2021 – has gained the upper hand.
When Crutchlow was asked on Saturday if he felt safe driving the track with someone who is having trouble keeping their emotions under control, Crutchlow defended Vinales.
“Of course we’re talking about Maverick … the thing is, I think if Maverick got on the bike next week he’d be as fast as normal,” said the Yamaha test rider.
“And that’s the reality. So he’s not someone who suddenly says: “Okay, I’ll brake 10 or 20 meters later”.
“He’s not dangerous, that’s for sure. He’s a good driver, he’s a great driver who, like I said last week, is probably in the top 3 in the championship for talent and has been for many years.
“Well, it’s not my place to comment on what to do, it has nothing to do with me.
“But would I feel comfortable with him on the track again? Yes sir.”
Crutchlow also spoke about the pressure a MotoGP rider feels, noting, “Racing in MotoGP is always a privilege because we have the privilege to be here, as do 90% of the paddock.
“Now the riders are privileged more than anyone else because we have the opportunity to compete in MotoGP. I enjoyed it for many years.
“But we’re all frustrated. This job is the best job in the world, but the toughest job in the world, and often the pressure comes from you.
“But when it comes from other people around you and this, that and the other, then it gets ten times worse because you – as a driver – are often the worst critic.
“So you have to manage this situation, manage the emotions and everything else.
“But we all lose our heads sometimes, throw helmets and whatever.
“But not on people, on the situation. So it’s a difficult situation because we have so much respect for each other on the track.
“I know that we pass each other, people blow each other, they make hard moves.
“But you have to be comfortable with who you are riding with and I’ve never looked at the MotoGP grid and thought, ‘I would hate to have this guy behind me or in front of me or to fight with us’ because we know what we do “We trust what we do.”