Cal Crutchlow ended a nightmare run on the end of season MotoGP world tour yesterday to score his second premier class podium with a brilliant display in the Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island.
The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider hadn’t score a single point on his travels to Japan and Malaysia, which had dropped him back from fifth to seventh in the world championship standings.
But the 2009 World Supersport champion roared back to form with a third place behind Casey Stoner and Jorge Lorenzo that added to his career first rostrum in Brno at the end of August.
The Phillip Island weekend had been a tough one for Crutchlow, who was struck down by a fever and nasty bout of bronchitis on his way from the previous race in Sepang.
Crutchlow’s second podium in MotoGP though looked in little doubt once he managed to stretch away from a group that included Monster Yamaha Tech 3 teammate Andrea Dovizioso and Honda duo Alvaro Bautista and Stefan Bradl.
Crutchlow, who celebrates his 27th birthday today, told MCN it was important that he backed up his Czech Republic podium to show that wasn’t a flash in the pan.
He said: “it was nice to come here and do well and to back up the Brno result. I know (Dani) Pedrosa hit the floor but I could have run the pace that he was running all weekend. I just maintained my pace to keep those guys behind. I didn’t want to push too hard so that at the end of the race I’d be feeling drained. I had a fever of 38.8 at one point over the weekend and I couldn’t breathe with the bronchitis, so to finish the weekend strong I’m really pleased.”
Crutchlow said his third in yesterday’s 27-lap race felt better than his Brno breakthrough result and he added: “This one feels better. I think I rode really well and I think I could have rode even better. I rode within myself and I didn’t make any real mistakes. I changed to a softer map at one stage because I was just cruising around. I wasn’t going to catch Casey and I wasn’t sure about Jorge’s situation in the points, so there was no point in pushing it. I think we deserved it, especially after Motegi when we battled for the podium and would have finished fourth at worst. Last week was a disappointment as well in Sepang, so I think we did a good job.”
Crutchlow also paid tribute to home hero Stoner and factory Yamaha star Lorenzo.
Stoner clinched a record sixth straight win at Phillip Island in front of a capacity crowd, while Lorenzo’s second secured him his second MotoGP crown.
Crutchlow added: “It was a shame that Dani crashed because I think it was going to be a good fight but congratulations to Casey. He phenomenal all weekend and he showed why he is the fastest guy in the world and also Jorge for winning the world title. He made the perfect season finishing first and second all of the time and it is thoroughly deserved.”
For the exclusive thoughts from Crutchlow on his second MotoGP podium, see the October 31 issue of Motor Cycle News.