British rider Cal Crutchlow believes he has little chance of scoring a third MotoGP podium in today’s Texas race at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA).
The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team rider missed a ninth career MotoGP front row start by just 0.167s to start from fourth on the grid for today’s 21-lap encounter.
With Repsol Honda duo Marc Marquez 1.246s clear and Dani Pedrosa almost a second ahead of Crutchlow, the 27-year-old conceded that his hopes of splitting the Spanish trio in front of him on the grid are slim.
Asked if the podium was out of his reach, Crutchlow said: “That’s a bridge too far if I am honest. I am not playing it down but I think it is too much to ask to challenge for the podium. You can’t rule out (Stefan) Bradl and Valentino (Rossi). And even if I finish behind them two I will be happy anyway.
I’ll be happy to be best of the rest and in the top six. No Yamaha has got a chance of winning here. As a Yamaha rider I’ll have to salvage what I can. The Yamaha is losing in acceleration in a lot of areas but also stopping. We can’t believe how the Honda has been able to stop this weekend. Normally they don’t have an advantage on us in stopping but at the end of the back straight they are unbelievable.”
Crutchlow believes that rookie sensation Marquez, who bounced back from a heavy crash on the second morning to become the youngest rider in history to claim a premier class pole position, will start the second round of 2013 as favourite.
But he doesn’t believe the reigning Moto2 world champion will have it all his own way with Pedrosa looking to score his first rostrum of the campaign on the long and technical COTA track.
Crutchlow, who finished fifth in the season’s opening race in Qatar earlier this month, added: “I think Marquez is the favourite but Dani will be there. I think you will see a race that’s a lot closer than what you think. We don’t know how Marquez will race under pressure for 10 laps. If he has plus zero to Dani for the first 10 laps I don’t know how he will react. We know he is fast and faster than Dani but it is whether he can race for the whole race with the speed he’s got. But he’s very special.”